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Why Kate Middleton’s Stunning 40th Birthday Photos Were Super Filtered

Kate had a verrrrry specific vision.

The royals celebrated Kate Middleton’s 40th birthday by dropping three fancy new portraits, and there are a couple things to note: (1) she looks amazing, (2) her dresses are literally beyond, and (3) the photos have a very specific washed-out vibe, which, turns out, was super intentional.

According to theDaily Mail, Kate wanted to pay tribute to the work of Cecil Beaton, whose iconic portraits of the Queen, the Queen Mother, and Princess Margaret are in a similar style. And a source says Kate was specifically inspired by his work for the “classic shot” of her in profile, which was taken by photographer Paolo Roversi.

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Here are some of Cecil’s royal photos for comparison, which tend to be airy black-and-white portraits with soft edges (his subjects are also often shot in profile):

PA Images

 

PA ImagesGetty Images

Getty Image

BettmannGetty Images  

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Universal History Archive / Getty Images

Getty Image

CECIL BEATON / Getty Images

“From the three photographs, you can see the three aspects of Kate’s personality,” a source says of Kate’s portraits. “There is the regal side to her—as you can see in the classic shot where she is looking off into the distance; there is the more informal image in the red dress as a modern woman at 40; and then there is the close-up, which offers a more intimate perspective.”

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“I was moved by her warmth and friendly welcome and enchanted by her shining eyes that reflected the loveliness of her soul and her smile showing the generosity of her heart,” Paolo Roversi said of the portrait session. “I have met a wonderful person, a person who, with her positive energy, can bring hope to the whole world.”

Oh, and side note before we go: Kate also paid tribute to Princess Diana with her jewelry choice. While the most visible piece in her profile portrait is obviously her engagement ring, she’s also wearing Diana’s pearl and diamond earrings.