Royals enthusiasts already know that every year, as the calendar reaches January 9, Kate Middleton celebrates her birthday. But this time, the occasion was even more special than usual with the Duchess of Cambridge turning 40.
The trio of images were photographed by acclaimed photographer, Paolo Roversi, at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Kew back in November 2021. In the portraits, the Duchess can be seen wearing three stunning gowns by Alexander McQueen, the British fashion house behind her iconic wedding dress.
But it was one photo in particular that saw Kate pay homage to her late mother-in-law, Princess Diana.
In the black-and-white image, Kate can be seen wearing Lady Di’s famous Collingwood pearl earrings, which Diana wore on endless royal occasions throughout her life—notably, her unforgettable little black ‘revenge’ dress moment in 1994. In another, the Duchess paired a crimson one-shouldered gown with diamond earrings that were on loan from Queen Elizabeth II.
And of course, Kate can also be seen wearing her iconic sapphire engagement ring that once belonged to Diana, which was passed down to Prince William and given to Kate upon their engagement.
The celebration of the milestone birthday saw another rare occurrence—a personal message from Kate herself. In the caption of the last portrait shared to their joint Instagram, the Duchess publicly thanked the public for their support and signed off with a ‘C’, notably to signify her birth name, Catherine.
“Thank you for all of your very kind birthday wishes, and to Paolo and the National Portrait Gallery for these three special portraits. C.”
Roversi, the photographer behind the images, spoke about the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to capture Kate through his lens.
“Taking the portrait of Her Royal Highness, The Duchess of Cambridge, was a true honour for me, and a moment of pure joy,” he said, as per Hello! Magazine.
“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,” he continued.
“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.”