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Forty and fabulous: Kate Middleton marks milestone birthday with new portraits fit for a future queen

Forty and fabulous: Kate Middleton marks milestone birthday with new portraits fit for a future queen

Since her marriage to William in 2011, Kate has become one of the most popular royals — and a figure central to its future.
09 Jan, 2022

Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, turned 40 on Sunday, hitting the milestone as her profile soars alongside her husband, Prince William, the future king.

Kensington Palace released three new stunning photographs of the future queen to mark her milestone birthday. The portraits, taken by fashion photographer Paolo Roversi, show her wearing different Alexander McQueen dresses.

BBC reported they will go on display this year in the three areas — Berkshire, St Andrews and Anglesey — where Kate has lived.

They will then be housed in the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery.

In the black and white photograph, Kate wears an ethereal white gown along with pearl drop earrings that once belonged to Princess Diana, according to Vogue.

An off-the-shoulder red Alexander McQueen has been paired with earrings from the collection of Queen Elizabeth.

Her highness

Since marrying into Britain's most famous family in 2011, Kate has emerged to become one of the most popular royals — and a figure central to its future.

Her image as a safe pair of hands, at a tricky time for the monarchy, was boosted at a televised Christmas carol concert in December. She delighted fans with her musical prowess by accompanying the British singer-songwriter Tom Walker on piano for his poignant song 'For those who can't be here'.

Kate rehearsed in secret for the surprise performance at Westminster Abbey, which was dedicated to everyone who served their communities during the coronavirus pandemic. “She was absolutely fabulous — she smashed it. What a talented, kind, warm-hearted, lovely person,” Walker said, describing her as “very chilled, very nice” to everyone.

Both Kate and William, who turns 40 in June, have been much more visible public figures since the start of the global health crisis. The couple have held video meetings with frontline healthcare workers battling the outbreak, which has claimed some 150,000 lives in Britain since early 2020.

They have also given insights into life with their three children in lockdown — albeit in a sprawling country pile on a royal estate.

As restrictions lifted, they have been seen at official engagements, from the glitzy world premiere of the new James Bond film to meeting world leaders at the G7 and UN climate change conferences. Kate has also pushed her own initiatives such as championing early years education and, with William, promoting mental health and protecting the environment.

Polite resilience

The couple's former private secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton told The Times newspaper that part of Kate's appeal was her polite, down-to-earth and unflustered nature.

“She takes time to talk to people,” he said, likening her to Queen Elizabeth II's own mother, who was a symbol of British resilience during World War II.

“She is tough. She has got that Queen Mother feel in her, so that when things need doing, she is there to do them.”

A lot of the focus on Kate since she and William started dating as students in Scotland was on her middle-class background.

Despite attending one of Britain's top private schools, much was made of how she would fit in to the arcane world of royalty with its traditions and conventions. Early comparisons were inevitably drawn with William's own mother, Princess Diana, who struggled with the forensic media scrutiny after marrying Prince Charles in 1981.

But Kate has in public at least given the impression of being eager to embrace royal duties, and unlike her sister-in-law, Meghan, given little away.

In the British media, she has enjoyed favourable coverage, particularly since Meghan and her husband Prince Harry quit royal life and moved to the United States last year.

Up to the task?

Some attribute the difference in public attitudes towards Kate and Meghan to a very British reaction to emotional candour in a country known for stiff upper lip reserve.

Certainly, Meghan's criticism of a cherished British institution, including accusing it of racism, did not help. Nonetheless, Kate — known for carefully curated social media posts of family life — has encountered some brickbats, not least for her immaculate appearance.

The novelist Hilary Mantel even accused her of resembling a “shop-window mannequin with no personality of her own”.

But she is clearly seen as a dependable figure in royal circles at a crucial time.

The royal family has also been rocked by a US civil claim for sexual assault against the Queen's second son, Prince Andrew, and his links to the convicted sex offenders Jeffrey Epstein and Ghislaine Maxwell. Harry is also poised to publish his memoirs this year amid fears of fresh revelations.

With the Queen now 95 and stepping back from public duties on health grounds, William's father Charles and his second wife, Camilla, have become more prominent.

But with Charles now 73, his reign, when it starts, is already being seen as a transition to William and Kate's more up-to-date, empathetic, Instagrammable version of a venerable institution.

Royal author Phil Dampier said with Harry in self-exile, Andrew in the shadows, and other senior royals ageing, “the whole future rests with William and Kate”.

“Fortunately they look up to the task and I'm sure her best is yet to come,” he told the Daily Mail.

Comments

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Abdul Sheikh Jan 09, 2022 04:55pm
I know many Pakistani women in their early forties not less fabulous.
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ST Jan 09, 2022 04:59pm
What's so special about them.? They r as human as us.
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Nads Jan 09, 2022 05:28pm
She looks like any other fashion model she should have worn a tiara to show who she is …future queen!
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Moud Jan 09, 2022 06:23pm
Exageration is a part of the royal game!
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AAA Jan 09, 2022 06:49pm
Such graceful and elegant lady, future queen indeed.
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Tatiyana Jan 09, 2022 07:20pm
@Abdul Sheikh Yes she is ordinary compared to many Pakistani women her age.
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Syed Jan 09, 2022 07:39pm
We celebrate their kings and queens while they jailed our king and murdered our princes. If this is not shameful for us what else will be?
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Isthisreal Jan 09, 2022 07:39pm
Wow amazing ....
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Taj Ahmad Jan 09, 2022 07:54pm
Kate is most charming woman in the world, happy birthday to you!!!
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Taj Ahmad Jan 09, 2022 08:03pm
Kate at age 40 is the most charming woman in the world, she always dressed simple, light face make-up, other women in the world should follow her natural life style.
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Tahmad Jan 09, 2022 08:08pm
Women in the world should stay away from Beauty Parlor if they want to look a like as Kate Middleton, simple face make-up keep your face skin soft and natural and that's the real beauty that's most men in the world preferred.
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Tatiyana Jan 09, 2022 08:10pm
@Taj Ahmad How do you know she is charming?
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SKF Jan 09, 2022 08:19pm
Future Queen? Elisabeth is still alive!
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Dr Salaria Ahmed Part II Jan 09, 2022 08:42pm
Ok and the point is?
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Tadka Jan 09, 2022 08:44pm
her charm lies in her work and conduct in public, not much in looks. The packing is top notch
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T-man Jan 09, 2022 09:38pm
So what?
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Amin Jan 09, 2022 10:43pm
@Syed yes very true.
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Rayhan Jan 09, 2022 11:39pm
I think we should see her as a person of current royal family, not from historical perspective. She has an impressive personality!
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MatterOfFact Jan 10, 2022 12:54am
@Syed ... to correct you, they were Indian Kings and Princes, not "Ours". Moreover, decisions made by people in the past don't necessarily reflect people of the present. So please, live in the present!
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Syed Jan 10, 2022 12:04pm
@MatterOfFact First, please read history and then reflect on their current practice of harboring our political criminals and the looters of our national assets. We can then discuss the good people of Britain.
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F Nawaz Jan 10, 2022 12:35pm
The rebranding of the freeloading royals begins..
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Uber Jan 10, 2022 08:02pm
@Tahmad She has had surgeries to change her nose, eyebrows, smile and cheekbones.
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