In the decade since she joined the royal family, the Duchess of Cambridge has honed her eye for photography, serving as the National Portrait Gallery’s patron, releasing her own images of Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis on their respective birthdays, and launching her Hold Still initiative during the pandemic. It’s natural then that, for her 40th birthday on January 9, Kate eschewed sitting for a painter, instead commissioning Italian photographer (and frequent Vogue contributor) Paolo Roversi to shoot a trio of portraits in Kew Gardens.
Taken in November, the shots depict the Duchess in a series of ballgowns against a neutral backdrop. Over the course of 2022, the portraits will be displayed in locations with “special meaning” to Kate, according to Kensington Palace. The first, Berkshire, is where she was raised and where the Middleton family still lives; the second, St Andrews, is where the future Duchess famously met Prince William as a history of art student; and the third, Anglesey, is where the Duke and Duchess rented a cottage just after their 2011 wedding.
The exact locations where the portraits will be displayed will be revealed shortly, and will form part of a wider National Portrait Gallery initiative, titled Coming Home. While the NPG – which is due to reopen in 2023 after a major refurbishment – is closed, many of its treasures are on show in locations across Britain, from Vanessa Bell’s portrait of Virginia Woolf at Charleston to Olivia Rose’s shot of Stormzy in the Museum of Croydon. Roversi’s three portraits of the Duchess will form part of the institution’s permanent collection from next year.
In the meantime, start planning a weekend break to Anglesey…
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk