Kate at 40: The Duchess of Cambridge Channels Generations of Royals in Birthday Portraits

Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge, also known as Kate Middleton, turns 40 today, January 9, 2022. Kensington Palace released three photos to mark the occasion, taken by Paolo Roversi.

It was also announced the three portraits will go to the National Portrait Gallery collection where the duchess is the patron.

Kate was born in Berkshire, England but moved with her family to Amman, Jordan, in 1984, where her parents worked for British Airways, her father, Michael, as a flight dispatcher, and her mother, Carole, as a flight stewardess.

In 1986, they returned to Berkshire. Her mother gave up her job to start a party supplier business, Party Pieces which made them a self-made millionaire family. Kate grew up with her two siblings in the countryside.

Giving up her dream to follow Prince William

In the course of 10 years since joining the royal family in 2011, much have been told about her, but one revelation from a former teacher confirmed what most critics had been speculating all along, that Carole Middleton arranged for her daughter to study at St. Andrews University to meet Prince William.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during a visit in Scotland

In an interview with royal expert and biographer, Katie Nicholl, for her book: Kate: The Future Queen, Jasper Selwyn, Kate's former career adviser at Marlborough College, where she attended high school, revealed that Edinburgh University was the Duchess of Cambridge's dream school and first choice to attend college, in fact she already got accepted for her chosen course.

"As far as I am aware, she had a place confirmed at Edinburgh (University)", Selwyn said.

Kate Middleton during younger days

It was not revealed what bachelor's degree Kate was supposed to take at Edinburgh University but many suspected it was Photo Journalism as she was always interested in Photography.

However, suddenly, Kate changed her mind and took a gap year. At that time, Prince William was also announced taking a gap year after graduating from Eton College to do a volunteer work in Chile and South Africa. 

A year later, Buckingham Palace announced the prince will attend St. Andrews University and will take Art History. The announcement prompted a surge of applicants to study at one of the oldest universities in Scotland. 

Kate posed at St. Andrews University during her college days

Kate was among those applicants to study the same course as Prince William (Art History) at St. Andrews University (Prince William shifted to Geography during his second year). To cut the story short, she was later introduced to Prince William at a university party. 

And the rest is history.

A decade in the royal family

Kate endured public criticism and malicious intrigues while still dating Prince William, calling her lazy and doing nothing other than waiting for the prince to propose, spitting on her non-aristocratic background. But she carried on well. And got the man of her dream.

The royal wedding on April 29, 2011

More than 10 years since the royal wedding in 2011, the Duchess showed much grace and stability in public. And represented the royal family with dignity and poise. 

Kate's fashion is among the most watched among royals in Europe

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have three children: Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. They lived in two residences: Kensington Palace when in London and Anmer Hall in Sandringham estate.

Celebrating a decade of marriage in 2011

Kate is taking a prominent role in representing the British monarchy in many aspects and became Prince William's balanced in his preparation for his future role as monarch.

Christmas Card portrait of the Cambridges for 2021

Kate at 40 Landmark Portraits

The Duchess of Cambridge banked on her Art History degree to help conceptualize her milestone portraits for National Portrait Gallery. 

According to a royal source, Kate shared her vision with Paolo Roversi, a known Italian photographer, on what would she want to be her portraits for her 40th birthday, and its concept.

They conceptualized on the influences of the three generation of royals who played an important role in the life of the British monarchy: 

Queen Victoria for Kate's side pose

Diana, Princess of Wales for Kate's close-up shot

Her Majesty, The Queen for Kate's red dress pose. She's wearing a pair of earrings loaned by the Queen to her

The photo shoot was held at Kew Gardens and will now part of the collection of the National Portrait Gallery. 

It will enter the exhibits of the gallery throughout the year as part of its "Coming Home" project. 

Happy 40th birthday Duchess of Cambridge! 🎂🎉🎈

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