Kate shared a heartfelt thank you message on Sunday night in the UK, writing: “Thank you for all your very kind birthday wishes, and to Paolo and the National Portrait Gallery for these three special portraits. C”
It’s safe to say that the portraits sent royal fans into a frenzy, but in all the excitement there was a lot of detail that the average viewer missed.
From what was playing out while shooting the portraits to the message hidden in her jewelry, here are the secret details of Catherine’s new birthday portraits.
A touch of rock’n roll
While most royal portraits are stylish, there is something about Kate’s latest set that sets them apart from the pack.
The future queen consort looks more relaxed and intimate than ever, and photographer Paolo Roversi has revealed the secret to her shots.
“At first the Duchess was worried,” he told Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.
After all, Kate is constantly photographed by the press, the public and royal photographers, and in her personal life she often prefers to be behind the camera.
But Roversi had a clever little trick up his sleeve.
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“In the end I wanted to take pictures in motion, so with this beautiful wide skirt I made it dance in front of my lens, a sort of accelerated waltz mixed with a pinch of rock’n roll.”
He used the music to relax Kate, then focused on capturing her natural beauty first and foremost – and we think he succeeded!
“I didn’t want her to look too Lady Duchess, too established, but as pure, as contemporary as possible. Or even timeless,” he added.
The Duchess also wore minimal makeup for the shoot, kept her hair loose and flowing, and opted for simple but sentimental jewelry.
A tribute to Diane
Getty / Paul Roversi
The Duchess often makes secret statements through her jewelry and has chosen to do so again for her birthday portraits, incorporating a gentle tribute to the late Princess of Wales.
In the first published image, Kate sits in profile with her hand resting on her lap, showing off Diana’s iconic sapphire engagement ring.
But that wasn’t the only nod to the late princess. Looking off camera with her hair gently blown in the breeze, Kate also wore a set of pearl earrings.
The elegant pair, known as Collingwood pearl earrings, were previously owned by Diana and she has worn them countless times during her years as a royal.
She has since worn the pearls on several occasions, so this isn’t the first time Kate has paid homage to her late mother-in-law… and we’re sure it won’t be the last.
A wink to the queen
Getty / Paul Roversi
Not the type to do things halfway, Kate took the opportunity to honor another iconic royal woman with her jewelry choices in her second portrait.
Wearing a spectacular red one-sleeve gown for the photo, the Duchess of Cambridge chose a set of sparkling diamond earrings.
The pair was loaned to her by none other than Queen Elizabeth II, who is known to have loaned Kate jewelry on several occasions since her marriage in 2011.
In fact, the tradition began when Kate first borrowed the now iconic Cartier Halo tiara from the Queen’s collection to wear on her wedding day over 10 years ago.
A look back at the wedding day
Speaking of her wedding day, the Duchess also managed to insert a sweet reference to her nuptials in her wedding portraits.
Kate chose to wear three dresses by designer Alexander McQueen for the photos; the same fashion house behind her breathtaking lace wedding dress.
All three dresses – from the off-the-shoulder chiffon dress to the puffy scarlet number and the delicate ruffle dress – have been attributed to the British designer.
The Duchess has had a close connection to the brand throughout her tenure as a member of the Royal Family, often choosing McQueen designs for her most important outings.
While she’s had many iconic moments in McQueen dresses over the years, there’s no denying that Kate’s wedding dress alone is her most beloved moment in McQueen.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Now to love.