Tatler cover portrait of Princess of Wales criticised

A new portrait has been unveiled of The Princess of Wales on the cover of Tatler, used as their July 2024 front page – but it has not been well received by royal watchers.

The portrait was captured by Hannah Uzor, showing Catherine wearing a white embellished Jenny Packham gown, with a cape, as previously seen at the South African State Banquet in 2022.

The portrait of The Princess of Wales. (Tatler)

The portrait also captures Catherine’s tiara of choice for the event, the Lover’s Knot, which has not only been worn by Catherine on a number of occasions but it was also a favourite of her late mother-in-law’s. The tiara was commissioned by Queen Mary in 1913 for Queen Mary and features a French neo-classical design, with 19 open diamond frames each with a large pearl drop. 

The tiara was inherited by Elizabeth II in 1953 upon Queen Mary’s death. Catherine’s hanging pearl earrings are also captured in the portrait.

Embed from Getty Images

Reflecting on working on the portrait without having the opportunity to meet the Princess, Uzor looked through over 189,000 pictures of The Princess of Wales on the Getty Images archive to capture her likeness as close as possible.

Speaking to Tatler, Uzor said: ‘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?’

The artist expressed admiration for Catherine, stating that she had ‘risen up to her role’ following the death of Elizabeth II and the accession of Charles III, with Catherine becoming Princess of Wales. Uzor added how when carrying out her royal duties, the Princess ‘carries herself with such dignity, elegance and grace’.

The important thing for her in any portrait is to convey the layers of the subject’s personality – in this case of Catherine’s portrait, Uzor wanted to ‘capture the dichotomy between the public persona and the private’.

She added how all her portraits are ‘made up of layers of a personality’ that are constructed from everything she can find out about her subject. The artist also shared how Catherine’s cancer diagnosis announcement impacted her painting, saying it had given her a new perspective on the work ‘without a doubt’. The video of Kate giving the news showed ‘a moment of dealing with something difficult, speaking from the heart, having the courage to tackle it head-on’.

Whilst the artist has captured the Princess’ outfit, others were less than impressed.

One user on X wrote: ‘Doesn’t look like Catherine at all. If she wasn’t wearing that dress I’d have no clue as to who it’s meant to be’.

Another user insisted: ‘Sorry, as much as I love that you have the Princess of Wales on the cover, that looks nothing like her.’

It is thought this isn’t an official portrait of the Princess, and Kensington Palace had not been approached beforehand, according to GB News’ Cameron Walker.

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