Kate unleashed personal expertise to create stunning pics ‘She had a mood board!’

Kate Middleton's background in photography discussed by panel

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Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge used 19-century portraits to inspire the aesthetic of her 40th birthday photoshoot. The Duchess briefly studied art in Florence and wrote her university thesis on Lewis Caroll’s photographic interpretation of childhood connection with Victorian photography. She also took cues from the creations of Dante Gabriel Rossetti and Sir David Coyle Burne-Jones to inspire her poses and the style of the images.

Royally Obsessed host Roberta Fiorito: “Kate Middleton has this connection to Victorian photography that I didn’t know.

“She wrote her thesis at the University of St. Andrews on Lewis Caroll’s photographic interpretation of childhood which was definitely Victorian era. 

“She does have a lot of knowledge of that style and she requested that…she showed him portraits from Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Sir David Coyle Burne-Jones, pre-Raphaelite,

“She had a mood board basically, that’s what I’m trying to say.”

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Kensington Palace released a trio of Kate’s photos on her 40th birthday celebration.

The photos were snapped by fashion photographer Paolo Roversi at Kew Gardens. He has worked with celebrities and supermodels in the past.

The Duchess of Cambridge dresses were chosen by Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen, Mr Roversi revealed.

He confirmed that Kate took inspiration from the “portraits” of Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Sir David Coyle Burne-Jones for her birthday photoshoot done in November. 

Mr Roversi said he “made her dance in front of the lens” in “only natural light, little makeup, and no hairstyle, I wanted it contemporary.”

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Mr Roversi said that the Duchess was “apprehensive” during their first meeting, and expressed that she loved photography “in particular of authors such as Julia Margaret Cameron and Lewis Carroll who wrote Alice in Wonderland”.

He continued: “The focal point of Kate’s face is her gaze and smile. I didn’t want her too lady duchess, too establishment, but purer and more contemporary as possible, even more timeless.”

The fashion photographer praised the Duchess demeanour and said: “She is a nice, welcoming woman who puts you at ease, respectful of everyone’s work. Bursts of joie de vivre. Open, generous, luminous, I think it can bring so much hope to England and to the whole world.”

Almost 250 photos were taken and then skimmed down to 70 before the trio was released. 


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The Duchess was helped by her husband, Prince William, and her three kids in the selection of the photos. 

Mr Roversi continued: “I did the first skimming, a dozen of his favorites, then we got to 3 of my favorites and one of his, the official photo is both mine, but also his favorite. But Kate was less determined than me in the last choice. 

“The designer Sarah Burton chose the dresses: only one was red, the others neutral. For the official portrait, she wore the organza one, almost like a classical ballerina.

“In the end, I wanted to take pictures in motion, so with that wonderful wide skirt, I made her dance in front of my camera, a kind of accelerated waltz mixed with a pinch of rock ’n’ roll.

“And it’s a secret image for now.” 

The portraits will enter to be the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery that will reopen in 2023.

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