Three new portraits released to celebrate the Duchess of Cambridge's 40th birthday

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  • Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
    Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge
    Wife of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge
  • Paolo Roversi
    Italian photographer
Photo credit: Paolo Roversi/Getty Images
Photo credit: Paolo Roversi/Getty Images

Three new portraits have been released to mark the Duchess of Cambridge's 40th birthday today, Sunday 9th January.

The new images were captured by celebrated Italian fashion photographer Paolo Roversi at Kew, the royal botanical gardens in Richmond.

The royal is seen wearing three custom-made pieces by Alexander McQueen throughout the portraits, a red one-sleeved dress with a flared skirt, a romantic off-the-shoulder tulle gown with bow-accented shoulders, and a white chiffon dress with a ruffled bodice and statement shoulder. The duchess has a long history of working with the British fashion house and often wears pieces for key royal engagements. McQueen creative director Sarah Burton famously designed Kate's wedding dress in 2011.

Photo credit: Paolo Roversi/Getty Images
Photo credit: Paolo Roversi/Getty Images

The royal also chose significant jewellery to wear in the portraits: the red dress was styled with a pair of antique diamond earrings on loan from the Queen, while the white off-the-shoulder dress was paired with diamond and pearl drop earrings which once belonged to Princess Diana.

"Taking the portrait of Her Royal Highness, the Duchess of Cambridge, was a true honour for me, and a moment of pure joy," Roversi told Bazaar.com. "I was moved by her warmth and friendly welcome and enchanted by her shining eyes that reflected the loveliness of her soul and her smile showing the generosity of her heart. It was a profound and rich experience for me, an unforgettable moment. I have met a wonderful person, a person who, with her positive energy, can bring hope to the whole world."

Photo credit: Paolo Roversi/Getty Images
Photo credit: Paolo Roversi/Getty Images

The three photographs will go on permanent display at The National Portrait Gallery, of which Kate is patron. They will form part of a new exhibit, The Coming Home project, which will see famous faces captured at locations which have particular meaning for them. The portraits will also be displayed at locations of importance to each person, while the National Portrait Gallery is undergoing refurbishment, giving people in towns and cities across the UK the chance to see famous works in their local area. The Duchess of Cambridge's three portraits will go on display at three locations of special meaning to her throughout 2022: her home county of Berskhire, St Andrew’s University in Scotland, and Anglesey in Wales, where she first lived with Prince William after they got married.

It's custom for the royal family to release portraits celebrating birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions. Kate, a keen photographer herself, regularly captures her own pictures of her family and three young children - Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.

It's believed that the duchess will be celebrating her milestone birthday privately at home today.

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