Our post about the Duchess of Cambridge’s 40th birthday portraits is probably going to be one of the most-commented-on posts of the year. People just loved analyzing the weird, ghostly and Victorian-style photos by Paolo Roversi, an Italian fashion photographer. I’m still stuck on the fact that Kate hired Roversi too – there are tons of really great British photographers, even great British fashion/culture photographers. Why an Italian? Why Roversi in particular? Why these portraits in particular? Why did Kate lean into “glam/fashion” when the whole PR push for her birthday was about how she eschews glamour (unlike Meghan)? Meanwhile, Kate’s fans were wondering why Kate didn’t wear a tiara for the portraits:
Happy birthday to the Duchess of Cambridge, who is celebrating her 40th birthday on Sunday. But unlike other formal occasions the royal wasn’t wearing a tiara.
Although it might initially seem unusual, the occasion wasn’t a formal one for the Duchess, and was more akin to a fashion photoshoot. HELLO! understands that Kate, who studied art history at university, had a distinct style in mind and the photoshoot was very much a collaboration between herself and acclaimed photographer Paolo Roversi. She is said to be “delighted” with the results. And the gorgeous photos certainly captured that feel, as the mum-of-three looked every inch a glamorous fashion model.
“…As the mum-of-three looked every inch a glamorous fashion model…” One, she did NOT. Two, I thought it was low-class and tacky to look glamorous and fashion-conscious? As for the tiara… come on, like Kate would have passed up an opportunity to wear a tiara. Methinks Angela Kelly – the keeper of the jewels and the Queen’s dresser – didn’t want to lend a tiara out to Kate for her lil’ birthday photoshoot, although Kelly did allow Kate to borrow a pair of earrings from the Royal Collection. The other option – and it’s a solid option! – is that this is what Kate thinks of as “very glamorous.” Expensive, custom McQueen gowns, daguerreotype-style Victorian consumption photos and mall Glamour Shots.
Roversi also spoke about the portraits. He’s clearly proud of his work, and he said that Kate was “nervous” about the shoot. Sources suggest that Sarah Burton (McQueen’s head designer) chose the gowns for Kate. Roversi says he took about 250 photos and he and Kate worked together to whittle them down to the three which were released. He also shot photos of Kate dancing, because he convinced her to twirl and dance at one point. Roversi also took credit for Kate’s, um, Rose Hanbury-esque hairstyle, saying that he asked Kate for a “less is more” approach to styling, with loose hair and little makeup: “I didn’t want her to look too Lady Duchess, too establishment, but as pure and contemporary as possible. Or even timeless.” The photos were none of those things.
Photos courtesy of Paolo Roversi for Kensington Palace.