Kate Middleton's 40th Birthday Portraits Reference Royal Photos From The Victorian Era, Photographer Reveals

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·5-min read
Kate Middleton's 40th Birthday Portraits Reference Royal Photos From The Victorian Era, Photographer Reveals
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Diana, Princess of Wales
    Diana, Princess of Wales
    First wife of Charles, Prince of Wales (1961-1997)
  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
    Wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
  • Paolo Roversi
    Italian photographer
  • Cecil Beaton
    Cecil Beaton
    English photographer and scenographer
  • Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon
    Younger daughter of King George VI and Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother

Article updated on 11/1/22:

After portrait photos of Kate Middleton were released in celebration of her 4oth birthday, showing subtle references to the Queen and Princess Diana, Italian photographer Paolo Roversi has revealed the meaning behind the photographs.

They're inspired by a photo of Princess Alexandra of Denmark from 1864. The style of the photo, as well as Middleton's dress, are reminiscent of the 18th century shot.

This makes sense, considering the duchess studied Victorian photography during her art history degree at St, Andrews, where she met Prince William.

Speaking to Italian newspaper Corriere Della Sera about the shoot with Middleton, he explained that the Duchess of Cambridge showed him mid-19th century artwork from the likes of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Sir David Coyle Burne-Jones 'to give me inspiration'.

Like Middleton the princess, who later became Princess of Wales and Queen consort to King Edward VII, also had an interest in photography.

Another inspiration behind the series is Cecil Beaton, who photographed Queen Elizabeth at her coronation in 1953, and who also shot Princess Margaret and the Queen Mother.

'She looks incredibly beautiful and glamorous, but there's also a really personal element to it, not only with the royal family references but also with her own personal interest in photography and her studies in the history of art,' Bethan Holt, author of The Duchess of Cambridge: A Decade of Royal Style told People.

She continued: 'There are references to the photographers that she has studied in the past such as Julia Margaret Cameron and Lewis Caroll. It's tying together her personal interests with the weight of the royal family history.

'I think the comparison with the Queen Mother is really interesting because she was the last person really that was the wife and mother of a monarch and she really dedicated her life to supporting her husband and then her daughter and Kate will be doing the same with William and George.'

After highlighting that the images resonate with those taken by Beaton of the Queen Mother in the late 1930s, she added: 'I think they offer reassurance that we can still remain excited about the future of the royals, that it's not all going to crumble.'

Article originally published on 10/1/22:

Kate Middleton has commemorated her 40th birthday with a series of special portraits in which she pays tribute to the Queen and Princess Diana.

Ahead of her milestone birthday on January 9 the Duchess of Cambridge shared the images on her and Prince William's social media accounts. The portraits include two black and white photos of her wearing two ethereal gowns, and a coloured picture of her wearing a scarlet red dress, all designed by the British fashion house Alexander McQueen.

But, there's more to these photos, taken by fashion photographer Paolo Roversi, than what appears at first glance.

All three portraits, which are set to appear in the National Portrait Gallery as part of a permanent collection when it reopens in 2023, subtly nod to two important royal women in the Duchess' life - the Queen and Princess Diana.

The image of the mother-of-three wearing the asymmetric red puff-sleeve gown shows her wearing a pair of drop diamond earrings which were loaned to her by the Queen.

In May last year, Middleton borrowed a pair of sapphire and diamond earrings from Her Majesty to watch Cruella at Scotland's Palace of Holyroodhouse drive-in cinema. And she borrowed them again to host a carol concert at Westminster Abbey last month.

The Dubai Looped Sapphire Demi-Parure were originally gifted to the Queen when she toured the Middle East in 1979.

In another one of Middleton's recent portrait photos, she's dressed in a ruffled dress and looks directly into the camera. She accessorised the look with pearl earrings that formerly belonged to the late Princess Diana.

In another photo she wears an ethereal white gown with a should-baring neckline, trimmed with gauzy ribbon.

And that's not all, as her hand is positioned in a way that spotlights her 12-carat oval sapphire engagement ring, previously owned by the late Princess of Wales after Prince Charles proposed in 1981.

The Duchess of Cambridge has been championing historical royal jewellery for years, including the time she wore the Queen's large diamond-cluster teardrop earrings for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) reception at Buckingham Palace in 2019, reportedly also worn by Her Majesty at the State Opening of Parliament in 2012.

At the time, the royal donned an emerald green Alexander McQueen dress.

Prior to the reception, she wore the same earrings to attend the Anna Freud Centre gala dinner, held at Kensington Palace, not to mention the Diamond Quatrefoil Bracelet given to Her Majesty from the Queen Mother.

Among the numerous other pieces she's borrowed from the Monarch is the ruby and diamond floral bandeau necklace, gifted to the Queen by her parents, and the Queen's four-strand pearl choker.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

When it comes to Princess Diana, Middleton wore her Lover's Knot Tiara to the Diplomatic Receptions at Buckingham Palace in both 2015 and 2016.

And she isn't the only duchess to have borrowed pieces from the royals' prized jewellery collections.

Meghan Markle wore the Queen Mary Diamond Bandeau tiara, made by the Queen's grandmother Queen Mary back in 1932, for her marriage to Prince Harry in 2018.

You Might Also Like

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting