The First Official Portrait Of Kate Middleton Is Not Exactly Flattering

Catherine Duchess of Cambridge, official portrait by artist Paul EmsleyThe first official portrait of Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, Future Mother of the Baby Who Shall Rule Us All, was unveiled this morning and, um, it’s not exactly flattering. Critics are calling it “rotten,” and saying Kate looks like a refugee from the Twilight series. Click through to see the portrait in all its “hamsterish” glory.

Portrait Kate looks older than her 31 years, and she appears to be smirking. She’s wearing a frumpy blouse, and the whole palette of the portrait is drab. She appears to have bags and wrinkles under her dull-colored eyes. Even her famously shiny hair is drab. She looks like a Midwestern librarian, not British royalty.

“Fortunately, the Duchess of Cambridge looks nothing like this in real life,” said Robin Simon, editor of the British Art Journal. “I’m really sad to say this is a rotten portrait.”

Here’s how Guardian culture blogger Charlotte Higgins describes it:

How is it that she has been transformed into something unpleasant from the Twilight franchise? The first thing that strikes you about Middleton’s visage as it looms from the sepulchral gloom of her first official portrait is the dead eyes: a vampiric, malevolent glare beneath heavy lids. Then there’s the mouth: a tightly pursed, mean little lip-clench (she is, presumably, sucking in her fangs). And god knows what is going on with the washed-out cheeks: she appears to be nurturing a gobbet of gum in her lower right cheek.

As art critic Michael Glover writes in the Independent, “It is a face which is beginning to look just a touch dropsical. It sags a little, ageing it needlessly. The cheeks incline towards the hamsterish. And what of this – ah! – hair? It is hair whose featheriness has been borrowed from an advert for shampoo.”

Meanwhile, the actual Kate Middleton is one of the most beautiful women in the world. Even emerging from the hospital after spending days vomiting, Kate looked much better than this portrait.

Kate, who has a degree in art history, chose artist Paul Elmsley herself, and she told him at the unveiling today she’s “thrilled” with it. It’s a duchess’s job to be polite.

Portait: The Guardian
Photo on main page: Featureflash /

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