Kate at 40: Duchess of Cambridge shares striking portraits as she marks milestone birthday

8 January 2022, 22:30 | Updated: 8 February 2024, 16:47

Kate Middleton celebrates her birthday
Kate Middleton celebrates her birthday. Picture: Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images

By Patrick Grafton-Green

Three striking new portraits of the Duchess of Cambridge have been released to mark her 40th birthday.

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Kate is pictured in three relaxed poses, wearing different Alexander McQueen dresses and with her hair flowing.

In one image she wears a red dress, earrings loaned by the Queen and beams at the camera as she appears to have her hands casually in the gown's pockets.

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The remaining images have been produced in monochrome that give them an ethereal quality.

In one, a head and shoulders image, the duchess smiles broadly and in the other, with her engagement ring prominently on display, she is shown in profile and expressionless looking left.

Kate wears earrings that belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales, in both photographs.

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The photographs were taken by celebrated fashion photographer Paolo Roversi, famed for working with industry stars like Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss.

She described the experience as "a moment of pure joy" and said the duchess can "bring hope to the whole world" with her "positive energy".

Kate will celebrate her 40th birthday on Sunday and the event is likely to be a private family affair marked at the Cambridges' home in Norfolk.

The birthday heralds the start of an important decade for the monarchy and the future queen, who will be at William's side as events progress, watching her young family grow up and pursuing her own charitable interests.

Roversi said: "Taking the portrait of Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cambridge was a true honour for me and a moment of pure joy.

"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."

Ahead of her birthday the duchess was also praised for her "vision and commitment" in establishing her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood to support the development of children.

Kate's work championing research into a child's formative years is the cornerstone of her public life and has been highlighted by a senior figure from of one of the country's leading mental health charities for children and young people.

Michael Samuel, chairman of trustees at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, said Kate had shown "passion and compassion" in her role as the organisation's patron.