Royal Ramblings: The Duchess of Cambridge’s First Royal Portrait Leaves a Lot to Be Desired

The first official Royal portrait of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge was unveiled yesterday (January 11) and…honestly, it’s a bit (a lot?) of a hot mess. The polite phrasing is probably to say that the future Queen of England’s first portrait has drawn mixed reviews from Royalists and members of the press both in the UK and abroad, but if you ask me, it’s really a bit of a disaster all the way around.

While the portrait is incredibly lifelike, it is also pretty unflattering. It makes the Duchess look much, much (much) older than her 31 years, thanks to the bags under her eyes, dull complexion and preponderance of facial lines. It also displays none of her famed charm, none of charisma that has charmed the world nor the style that’s made her a fashion icon. It’s basically like looking in a fun house mirror, except we’re all supposed to take it seriously and not apparently laugh hysterically and look around for the camera crew that’s surely punking us. But, perhaps I’m overreacting. Click through and take a look for yourself, and share your opinions in the comments. Should the Duchess ask for a do-over? Or do you her portrait is lovely the way it is?

Without further ado, the official first portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge:

You be the judge.

The picture is the work of artist Paul Emsley, the 2007 winner of the Gallery’s BP Portrait Award competition. According the BBC News report, the duchess sat twice for the artist, who used a technique of building thin layers of oil and glazes on canvas. (To be fair, the technique is stunning, as this looks more like a photograph than a painting.)

Both the duchess and Prince William have declared themselves pleased with the portrait, in fact Kate apparently called it “amazing” upon her visit to the National Portrait Gallery. Then again, I think we’ve all watched enough Downton Abbey by now to know that British manners would never let them say anything negative about the painting publically in the first place, so the Royal Family’s true feelings about this portrait will likely remain a mystery.  

Thoughts on the portrait? Would you vote to keep it or chuck it? Let us know in the comments.