On Thursday, Kate Middleton and Prince William made a visit to their namesake town, Cambridge, where they were among the first to see a history-making painting. The first official portrait of the couple was unveiled at the University of Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum, and the royal pair was on hand to celebrate it.
The work, which shows Kate in a familiar green dress from Vampire’s Wife and William standing contrapposto in a blue suit, was commissioned by the Cambridgeshire Royal Portrait Fund and was painted by Jamie Coreth, who was also present at the event, along with Lady Sibyl Marshall, whose late husband Sir Michael Marshall originally proposed the idea for the portrait. Afterward, they traveled for an engagement at the East Anglia Children’s Hospice, where Kate is a longtime patron.
According to the Telegraph, William and Kate posed together for two different sittings at Kensington Palace, and subsequently invited the artist back for one solo session with each of them. A source told the newspaper that the pair were “keen” to start the painting after their 10th wedding anniversary in April 2021, which also marked their 10th year as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Coreth, the 2016 winner of the prestigious BP Young Artist Award, is the great-great-nephew of Simon Elwes, who painted many members of the royal family in the 20th century. In a statement, Coreth explained the reasoning behind some of his artistic choices. “It has been the most extraordinary privilege of my life to be chosen to paint this picture. I wanted to show Their Royal Highnesses in a manner where they appeared both relaxed and approachable, as well as elegant and dignified,” Coreth said. “As it is the first portrait to depict them together, and specifically during their time as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, I wanted the image to evoke a feeling of balance between their public and private lives.”
In addition to the green dress, which Kate wore during the couple’s March 2022 trip to Dublin, her accessories also make reference to a previous Duchess of Cambridge. She is wearing a pearl drop brooch that once belonged to Princess Augusta, Queen Mary’s grandmother who became the Duchess of Cambridge upon her 1818 marriage to Prince Adolphus. It was passed to Mary and then to Queen Elizabeth, who has worn it throughout her reign, including events for her Silver Jubilee.
Each has posed for portraits separately in the past. William and Prince Harry sat for artist Nicky Philipps in 2008, wearing the dress uniforms they shared while they were both members of the Household Cavalry. In 2013, Kate sat for a painting by Paul Emsley, which faced a bit of online backlash for its darker color palette.
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