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Strange New Kate Middleton Portrait Causes a Stir: ‘What on Earth Is This?’

A new portrait of Catherine, Princess of Wales, is being attacked as an insult to its subject.

The portrait is on the July cover of Tatler magazine, which gushed about it on Instagram and said it was painted by British-Zambian artist Hannah Uzor.

Uzor said the painting is supposed to portray the princess, Kate Middleton, as she looked at King Charles’s first state banquet (November 2022). Uzor said she looked at pictures of the princess before painting the portrait, according to CNN.

“When you can’t meet the sitter in person, you have to look at everything you can find and piece together the subtle human moments revealed in different photographs: do they have a particular way of standing or holding their head or hands? Do they have a recurrent gesture?” she said in a statement.

Uzor also said Kate’s recent revelation that she has cancer was a factor in the portrait.

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

The reaction has been highly negative.

“What on earth is this??! Never seen a worse royal portrait, yet they still made it a cover?! Poor Kate,” broadcaster Piers Morgan posted on X.

British TalkTV host Ian Collins joined in.

“It’s worse than I remembered when I saw it five minutes ago! Is the artist an adult?” he said on X.

Art critic Alastair Sooke spoke for many when he castigated the portrait in the Telegraph.

“Sorry, who is she meant to be? The Princess of Wales? You could have fooled me. Even by the standards of modern royal portraiture (and there have been many abominable likenesses of senior members of our royal family produced over the past century), Tatler’s new cover image – an “exclusive” portrait of the Princess of Wales by the British-Zambian artist Hannah Uzor – is egregiously, intolerably, jaw-hits-the-floor bad,” Sooke wrote.

“Whatever you made of Jonathan Yeo’s recently unveiled crimson portrait of King Charles III – which, as various wags observed, looked as if it had come pre-attacked with tomato soup by Just Stop Oil protesters – at least the damn thing resembled its subject.

“But this? I’ve spent the past hour or so – time, incidentally, that I will never get back – scrutinising Uzor’s ‘likeness’, and, still, I cannot divine any flicker of resemblance between it and the woman it’s supposed to depict,” Sooke wrote.

He continued with the criticisms.

“Has there been a flatter, more lifeless royal portrait in living memory? (It’s no surprise to learn that Uzor based her picture on video footage of, rather than personal sittings with, her subject. And be aware, this is not an official commission.) Beneath a Lego-like helmet of unmodulated, monotonously brown ‘hair”’, this Princess of Wales has as much charisma as a naff figurine atop a wedding cake,” Sooke wrote.

“She holds herself with the bored bearing of an air stewardess about to begin an in-flight safety demonstration.”

“Even her outfit — which she wore to the King’s first state banquet — appears stiff, with that rigid blue sash restricting her like a seatbelt. Her tiara doesn’t sparkle and those diamond-drop earrings fail to shine; towards the image’s bottom edge, her gown seems to disintegrate into streaks of brittle wax,” he wrote.

Uzor, Sooke wrote, “has somehow transformed one of the most alluring women in the world into a cipher, an automaton, an icon of anti-glamour. She says that her portrait is meant to convey strength and dignity, but the figure she’s painted has a feeble, blow-away presence, drained of charm. Oh dear!”

READ 12 COMMENTS
  • Threelies One says:

    Pathetic. Sad thing is this work represents the pinnacle of this artist’s ability.

  • Grant says:

    Is it April 1st? Absolute s**t. LBH, Tatler are a joke now anyway. My matchstick portait of her looks more like Kate than that.

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