Kate Middleton's new portrait divides royal watchers: 'Lovely' or 'not HRH' at all?

Kate Middleton's new portrait divides royal watchers: 'Lovely' or 'not HRH' at all?
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A new portrait of the Princess of Wales is provoking a strong reaction, just days after a controversial likeness of King Charles III was revealed.

Tatler magazine shared their cover art for their July 2024 edition on social media, featuring a portrait of the former Kate Middleton by British-Zambian artist Hannah Uzor, a "fellow mother of three," per the publication.

This is the publication's third annual cover portrait. Prior years featured art of Queen Elizabeth II and King Charles III.

In the forefront of a gradient blue background, the painting shows Kate in a floor-length white gown and cape with a blue sash and pendant. Her hands are folded back into one another as she dons a tiara and her hair pulled back low. She appears to be wearing the same dress she wore to King Charles’ first state banquet.

On social media, the portrait has stirred a wide range of reaction, with many saying the portrayal lacks a resemblance to the princess.

"What a horrible portrait for a beautiful Woman," one person commented.

Another wrote, "This is not HRH The Princess of Wales. God knows who it is, but it is not HRH."

Another commented, "This is not resembling her at all."

"I really respect the artist but I also don't see Catherine here," one person added.

Some did seem to see the vision, though.

One commented, "Love this so much," with three red heart emoji.

"This is so lovely," another wrote.

TODAY.com has reached out to Tatler Magazine and Uzor, but has not heard back by the time of publication.

What does Kate's portrait mean?

Uzor’s approach to art, according to her website, is “driven by her interest in history, particularly, diasporic culture and its manifestation in personal and public memory.”

Her 2020 series of portraits highlighted figures from the African diaspora who played a role in English history.

The artist told Tatler of Kate, “‘She has really risen up to her role. She was born for this. She carries herself with such dignity, elegance and grace.”

Watching Kate’s video in which she announced she was undergoing cancer treatment affected the portrait “without a doubt," Uzor said.

“All my portraits are made up of layers of a personality, constructed from everything I can find about them,” Uzor told Tatler.

The "green-blue" hue of the background was inspired by Kate's eye color, "and also trying to get elements of being in a garden and on water." She cited rowing being one of Kate's favorite sports.

What does this have to do with King Charles' portrait?

The release comes days after a controversial portrait of Charles was unveiled May 14.

British artist Jonathan Yeo painted the dramatic depiction of the 75-year-old king, which stands as the first official portrait of Charles since his May 2023 coronation.

In the painting, Charles stands in a the red uniform of the Welsh Guards. He poses amid a red background with his hands over a sword. On the king's right shoulder, a monarch butterfly hovers.

Yeo told the BBC that he opted to depict Charles in his military uniform as he would appear in the traditional royal portraiture in the past.

He said he wanted to “make reference to the traditions of royal portraiture but in a way that reflects a 21st century monarchy,” per a statement released by Buckingham Palace on May 14, 2023.

As for the "vivid color" red, Yeo said on his website that the shade was intended to “echo the uniform’s bright red tunic, not only resonating with the royal heritage found in many historical portraits but also injecting a dynamic, contemporary jolt into the genre with its uniformly powerful hue.”

The monarch butterfly was Yeo's way of of illustrating how Charles' role in the royal family has evolved over the years, he told the BBC.

“In history of art, the butterfly symbolizes metamorphosis and rebirth,” explained Yeo, who was commissioned by The Drapers’ Company to paint Charles portrait in 2020 when he was still the Prince of Wales.

Along with also being a symbol of the king's environmental causes, Yeo said on his website that the butterfly is a “visual contrast to the military steeliness of the uniform and sword.”

This article was originally published on TODAY.com