The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge posed for their first official joint portrait, incorporating nods to the Queen and Princess Diana in a vision meant to balance “their public and private lives”.
The painting, described by the artists as ‘relaxed and approachable’ and ‘elegant and dignified’, is meant to celebrate the couple’s Cambridgeshire ties and was commissioned to coincide with their 10th wedding anniversary.
The Duke and Duchess have invited British artist Jamie Coreth to Kensington Palace for several live sessions, with the Duchess choosing jewelry that honors the Royal Family.
The portrait was commissioned by the Cambridgeshire Royal Portrait Fund as a gift for the county in 2021, the year the couple celebrated ten years of marriage and their Cambridge titles.
The Duke and Duchess helped choose the artist, with the Duchess believed to have seen his work at the National Portrait Gallery where it won the Young Artist Award at the prestigious BP Portrait Exhibition.
They will view the finished work at the Fitzwilliam Museum today, as part of a day abroad in Cambridgeshire.
“The most extraordinary privilege of my life”
Coreth said of the commission, “It has been the most extraordinary privilege of my life to be chosen to paint this picture.
“I wanted to show Their Royal Highnesses in a way where they seemed both relaxed and approachable, as well as elegant and dignified.
“As this is the first portrait to depict them together, and specifically during their time as Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, I wanted the image to evoke a sense of balance between their public and private lives.
“The piece was commissioned as a gift for the people of Cambridgeshire, and I hope they enjoy it as much as I enjoyed creating it.”
The Duchess was painted wearing a bright green dress by Vampire’s Wife that she once wore on a visit to Ireland, complete with a brooch belonging to the Queen and earrings that once belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales .
The Duke is dressed in a smart suit and blue tie, the two taking instructions to pose while looking to the artist’s right with their faces turned into the light.
They attended joint sessions twice and each took the time for another solo session to help the artist capture the necessary detail.
This is the couple’s first joint portrait. They each posed for other portraits individually more than ten years ago.
The Duchess posed for Paul Emsley in 2012, for a painting that received mixed reviews.
Prince William had a joint portrait with Prince Harry in 2009 by Nicky Philipps, and a royal family portrait in 2000 with the Queen, Prince Philip, the Queen Mother, Prince Charles and Prince Harry, by John Wannacott .
A source said the couple were “eager” to have this their first official joint portrait to mark the tenth anniversary of their Cambridge bond, with their titles of Duke and Duchess given on their wedding day.
The city of Cambridge is depicted in the background of the painting, with “the tones and colors of the many historic stone buildings that are synonymous with the city”.
The portrait also includes a hexagonal architectural motif that can be seen on buildings in Cambridge.
The portrait will be displayed at the Fitzwilliam Museum at the University of Cambridge for three years, after which it will be taken on a tour of community spaces and galleries in Cambridgeshire.
It will be loaned to the National Portrait Gallery, patronage of the Duchess, in 2023 for the reopening of the gallery.
It should also be used as part of the Fitzwilliam Museum’s youth engagement programs, to encourage young people from all walks of life to discover art.
Later today, the Duke and Duchess will reunite with Jamie Coreth to view the painting and meet supporters of the project, including Lady Sibyl Marshall, wife of the late Sir Michael Marshall who originally proposed the idea.
Coreth, a graduate of Oxford University and the Florence Academy of Art, won the 2016 Young Artist Award at the BP Portrait Exhibition for ‘Dad Sculpting Me’.
In 2020, his “Portrait of Fatima” was shortlisted for the BP Portrait Award and went on to win the Visitors’ Choice Award.