Delighted to share a new portrait of The Duchess ahead of her 40th birthday tomorrow,” the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s official Instagram account teased one day earlier on Saturday, January 8. “This is one of three new portraits which will enter the permanent collection of the @nationalportraitgallery, of which The Duchess is Patron.”
In the snap, the 40-year-old England native donned a glamorous, off-the-shoulder gown as she regally sat for photographer Paolo Roversi. Her sapphire engagement ring — which previously belonged to husband Prince William’s late mother, Prince Diana — can be seen in the photo, along with a pair of the Princess of Wales’ pearl drop earrings.
“Thrilled to welcome the new portraits into our Collection,” the NPG’s account replied to Kate and her 39-year-old spouse’s joint social media account. “We’re looking forward to displaying these portraits as part of Coming Home!”
In a second pic, the University of St. Andrews alum wore a one-shoulder red gown and diamond earrings.
The images were taken at Kew Gardens last year by the 74-year-old Italian photographer who is best known for his fashion spreads in the likes of ELLE, Vogue and other designer campaigns. The snaps will be included in a “meaningful” exhibition, titled Coming Home, that will be displayed in the U.K. cities of Berkshire, St. Andrews and Anglesey.
The new photos mark one way the duchess is celebrating her milestone birthday. However, her plans are likely to be altered amid rising coronavirus cases around the country.
“It’s going to be quite scaled back because of the COVID pandemic. I mean, here in the U.K., the numbers are back up again,” royal expert Jonathan Sacerdoti exclusively told Us Weekly on Tuesday, January 4. “There’s no lockdown in place, but [there’s] some resistance to big gatherings. It’s something that people just maybe don’t think is the best thing to do.”
The journalist noted that the royals were likely to follow health guidelines, speculating, “So even for a big, important birthday, like her 40th, and even being who she is, she’s choosing perhaps to do something lower key. So [as] to set a good example.”
The mother of three — she shares Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis, 3, with William — also had low-key birthday festivities one year earlier as she turned 39. A source previously told Us in January 2021 that the Duchess of Cambridge celebrated her special day at her family’s Anmer Hall estate with her brood amid the pandemic. Her children made “the cutest birthday cards using paint, glitter and sparkles” and gifted her “handmade birthday gifts and flowers, which they picked from the garden,” according to the insider.