Kate Middleton Artist Reveals the Truth Behind That Portrait

Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Reuters/Tatler
Photo Illustration by Elizabeth Brockway/The Daily Beast/Reuters/Tatler

The artist whose portrait of Kate Middleton has been roundly derided as amateurish and lacking any resemblance to Kate herself has said her intention was to capture the Princess of Wales’ “soul.”

Hannah Uzor told Tatler magazine, who commissioned the portrait for its July cover: “It’s really important to capture the soul of the person, so I spent a lot of time looking [at Kate], looking at her pictures, watching videos of her, seeing her with her family, seeing her in diplomatic visits, seeing her when she’s rowing or visiting children in a hospice. It’s been really interesting for me to get a sense of who she is.”

Readers responding to her explanatory video continued to rubbish the picture—in which “Kate” is seen in a white floor-length Jenny Packham evening dress she wore in 2022—saying it bore no likeness to its subject.

“I don’t understand this painting,” one commenter wrote. “I don’t see a resemblance to the princess in any way… I understand the artist talking about layers of a person etc, but surely if the end product is such that if you can’t guess who it is, then it can’t be a success. It is, after all, a portrait.”

“I truly love the painting,” wrote one of a minority of Uzor’s supporters. “Art isn’t the same as photography, it doesn’t mean to represent person’s appearance exactly as it is but to show the mood, the aura, the feeling about the person that an artist draws! Frankly, I simply can’t understand the whole negativity here, it just feels strange. The princess looks so peaceful and beautiful on the picture. I like her shyness. It feels (!) very real.”

Under that, a reply simply read: “FFS the woman can barely draw.”

The controversy over Uzor’s portrait follows on the heels of Jonathan Yeo’s red-drenched painting of King Charles, whose detractors said made the monarch look like he was “burning in hell,” or subsumed in a jar of Meghan Markle’s strawberry jam.

A handout image released on May 14, 2024, shows a portrait of Britain's King Charles by artist Jonathan Yeo.

Jonathan Yeo's portrait of King Charles.

His Majesty King Charles III by Jonathan Yeo 2024/Handout via Reuters

Uzor told Tatler that she had studied photos and videos of Kate, composing a series of sketches, and saying capturing the princess’ expression right had been “key.” Once Uzor was happy with that, she decided what the “Kate” in the portrait would wear. “This particular outfit I chose was striking. It made her look very regal and very confident.”

The background color was also carefully selected, Uzor said. “Color is one of the most important things in a work of art because it can really speak to the atmosphere, and the color I chose was something that really compliments Kate Middleton's green eyes,” she said. “The bluey turquoise-y background was predominately just to make sure that it matches her eyes because the eyes are really the window to the soul. So I focused a lot of time in trying to execute those eyes to match the color palette of the background as well.”

Uzor told Tatler that she “sensed the joy of motherhood” in Kate, who she did not meet in person for the portrait, and said her rendering was in part inspired by Kate’s strength in her recent cancer diagnosis video, saying it “showed a moment of dealing with something difficult, speaking from the heart, having the courage to tackle it head-on.”

The Daily Beast has reached out to Uzor for comment.

See the full feature in the July issue of Tatler, available via digital download and on newsstands from May 30.

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