The Duchess of Cambridge has thanked supporters who have wished her a happy birthday.
Kate, who turns 40 today, took to Twitter to personally thank everyone who had sent her messages on her birthday. It is rare for the duchess and her husband William to personally write their own tweets from the @KensingtonRoyal twitter page – with only one recent example of the duke telling the England football team they ‘can all hold your heads high, and be so proud of yourselves’.
Posting on the website, the duchess wrote: ‘Thank you for all of your very kind birthday wishes.’ She also thanked Paolo Roversi and the National Portrait Gallery following the release of three portraits of her to mark her 40th year.
The duchess added: ‘And to Paolo and the National Portrait Gallery for these three special portraits.’ She signed the tweet off, ‘C,’ for Catherine.
Members of the Royal family, including the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, also publicly sent their best wishes to the duchess.A tweet sent from the Clarence House twitter account said: ‘Wishing the Duchess of Cambridge a very happy 40th birthday today!’
Mr Roversi – a celebrated fashion photographer – took the pictures which will be shown in the community in Berkshire, St Andrews and Anglesey – all meaningful locations to the future queen – as part of the National Portrait Gallery’s ‘Coming Home’ exhibition ahead of its reopening next year.
Photographing the duchess was a ‘moment of pure joy‘, Mr Roversi said.
He added: ‘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.’
Kate picked the 74-year-old photographer herself and it was revealed the pair had several videos calls to get to know each other before meeting for Kate’s close up in Kew Gardens. Roversi, who is based in Paris, has carved a name for himself in the fashion world, having worked for Vanity Fai as well as American and Italian Vogue and countless designers, from Dior to Comme Des Garcons, Cerruti, Valentino and Saint Laurent.
A Palace source said: ‘From the three photographs, you can see the three aspects of Kate’s personality. ‘There is the regal side to her – as you can see in the classic shot where she is looking off into the distance; there is the more informal image in the red dress as a modern woman at 40; and then there is the close-up, which offers a more intimate perspective.’
Sarah Burton, who designed the Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding dress for her marriage to Prince William in 2011, is the fashion tour de force behind all three of the Alexander McQueen dresses that Kate is seen wearing in the striking set of photos. The British designer, current Creative Director of Alexander McQueen, has been the Duchess’ go-to for couture throughout her royal life.
The latest collaboration between the royal and mother-of-three Burton sees the Duchess going for high glamour in three ethereal gowns. Burton, who was awarded an OBE for services to the British fashion industry in 2012, remains one of the brightest lights in British fashion, having a huge impact on everyday style and formal wear, and designing for some of the world’s most famous names.
The 48-year-old, who born in Macclesfield, supervises all collections in the Alexander McQueen portfolio and counts designing Pippa Middleton’s bridesmaid dress among one of her other most memorable moments in fashion. The only colour shot in the new trio of birthday photographs, shot at Kew Gardens in West London, sees Kate wearing a bold, red dress with pouf sleeves and a nipped-in waist; a similar dress from Alexander McQueen’s Autumn Winter collection retails at £3,450.
Echoing both her wedding dress and gowns worn by both William’s mother, Diana, and the Queen in the early decades of her reign, the other two shots released to mark Kate’s birthday show Kate in a more intimate style – a world away from the sharp trouser suits and formalwear worn for public engagements.
All see Kate in confident pose; in two of the photographs, she looks directly into the camera, her hand elegantly resting in the pocket of a one-shoulder red dress while her hair billows out over her shoulder. A Palace source said that the photo that sees Kate posing side on was inspired by the work of Cecil Beaton, the revered photographer who captured historic images of the Queen and Princess Margaret
Her jewellery, as in all three images, is limited to just one pair of earrings – in this case diamonds borrowed from the Queen’s private collection – so her expression is the focus. The long-standing friendship between royal and designer saw Kate call upon Burton to design her wedding dress, with Burton sworn to secrecy.
She is spending her birthday in Norfolk, enjoying a more intimate affair with just friends and family at the Cambridges’ home, Amner Hall, due to the ongoing risk from the Omicron variant. However, Kate is unlikely to be upset about the smaller celebrations this year, according to a source, who claimed the Duchess is not ‘flashy‘.
They said: ‘There are likely to be low-key celebrations for the Duchess. She didn’t want anything flashy anyway – that’s not exactly her thing – but particularly given the current climate anything is likely to be scaled down.
In addition to the smaller gathering, the Duchess is set to miss out on a royal birthday tradition. Birthdays of senior royals used to be marked by the ringing of the bells at Westminster Abbey, but the practice was stopped in April 2020 due to the pandemic, and changes implemented when the bells restarted last September.
In a bid to save money, the bells will now only ring on the birthdays of the Queen and the Prince of Wales.