First royal portrait of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge

Paul Emsley's portrait of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge
Paul Emsley’s portrait of Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge

The first portrait of Kate Middleton as a member of the royal family has been unveiled, to a mixed reception. Kate commented that she was “thrilled” with the painting, while art critics have criticised the picture somewhat harshly. For example, a commentator with the Guardian, unleashed her scorn on this portrait:

Kate Middleton is – whatever you think of the monarchy and all its inane surrounding pomp – a pretty young woman with an infectious smile, a cascade of chestnut hair and a healthy bloom. So how is it that she has been transformed into something unpleasant from the Twilight franchise? The first thing that strikes you about Middleton’s visage as it looms from the sepulchral gloom of her first official portrait is the dead eyes: a vampiric, malevolent glare beneath heavy lids. Then there’s the mouth: a tightly pursed, mean little lip-clench (she is, presumably, sucking in her fangs). And god knows what is going on with the washed-out cheeks: she appears to be nurturing a gobbet of gum in her lower right cheek. The hair is dull and lifeless; the glimpse of earring simply lifts her to the status of Sloaney, rather than merely proletarian, undead.

While I don’t think that this portrait makes Kate Middleton out to be a vampire, it could represent her likeness around the eyes a bit more accurately. Having said that, I think that Paul Emsley did a lovely job at painting her wonderful chestnut hair.

Okay, so this portrait has been widely criticised in the British press, but it does have some good features. What do you think, readers?


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