THE Duchess of Cambridge marks her 40th birthday today by releasing stunning photographs of her wearing Alexander McQueen dresses.
The images by Paolo Roversi were inspired by royal portraits of the past.
Kate will celebrate her 40th privately and at home with husband Prince William, 39, and their three children George, eight, Charlotte, six, and three-year-old Louis.
But she released three photos that pay tribute publicly to Queen Elizabeth II and Queen Victoria.
Kate — who studied art history at university and has curated an exhibition on 19th century art — is said to have chosen Italian Mr Roversi because she admires his style of photography.
The portraits were taken at Kew Gardens in November.
Mr Roversi said he was “moved by her warmth and friendly welcome and enchanted by her shining eyes that reflected the loveliness of her soul”.
Old photos of Queens Elizabeth and Victoria were pored over during the shoot for inspiration. In the two black and white photos, Kate is wearing earrings from the collection of Princess Diana.
The picture showing her in profile was deliberately styled to be similar to the 1950s-era portraits of the Queen by Cecil Beaton.
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Insiders say this photo was chosen to display Kate’s regal side.
The close-up black and white portrait, with echoes of Princess Diana’s shoot with Mario Testino, is said to be the more personal, intimate and relaxed of the three.
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The only colour photo was chosen to display Kate’s “youthfulness and confidence”, it is said.
All three portraits will be in the permanent collection of London’s National Portrait Gallery next year.
But first they will go on tour as part of the gallery’s Coming Home project, which involves well-known artworks going on display in towns and cities across the UK.
Kate has chosen one to go on display in Berkshire. She grew up in the village of Bucklebury where her parents still have a home.
Another will be displayed in St Andrews, where she met and fell in love with Prince William when they were studying at university.
The third will go to Anglesey, where she and Wills lived for three years while he trained and worked as an RAF helicopter pilot.
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