The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have posed for their first official joint portrait, incorporating nods to the Queen and Princess Diana in a vision intended to balance “their public and private lives.”
The painting, described by the artists as “relaxed and approachable” and “elegant and dignified”, is intended to celebrate the couple’s ties to Cambridgeshire and was commissioned at the time of their 10th wedding anniversary.
The Duke and Duchess invited British artist Jamie Coreth to Kensington Palace for several live sittings, with the Duchess choosing jewellery which honours 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 marked ten years of marriage and of their Cambridge titles.
The Duke and Duchess helped choose the artist, with the Duchess thought to have seen his work at the National Portrait Gallery where he 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 an away-day 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 manner where they appeared both relaxed and approachable, as well as elegant and dignified.
“As it is the first portrait to depict them together, and specifically during their time as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, I wanted the image to evoke a feeling of balance between their public and private lives.
“The piece was commissioned as a gift for the people of Cambridgeshire, and I hope they will enjoy it as much as I have enjoyed creating it.”
The Duchess was painted wearing a vivid green dress by Vampire’s Wife she has previously worn during a visit to Ireland, with a brooch belonging to the Queen and earrings once belonging to Diana, Princess of Wales.
The Duke is in a smart suit and blue tie, with both taking instructions to pose looking to the right of the artist with their faces turned to the light.
They attended joint sittings twice, and each made time for a further solo session to help the artist capture the necessary detail.
It is the first joint portrait of the couple. They have each posed for other portraits individually more than a decade ago.
The Duchess sat for Paul Emsley in 2012, for a painting which 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, Queen Mother, Prince Charles and Prince Harry, by John Wannacott.
A source said the couple were “keen” to make this their first official joint portrait to mark the tenth anniversary of their link with Cambridge, with their Duke and Duchess titles given for their wedding day.
The City of Cambridge is represented in the background of the painting, with “the tones and colours of many of the historical stone buildings that are synonymous with the city”.
The portrait also includes a hexagonal architectural motif which can be seen on buildings across Cambridge.
The portrait will be on display at the University of Cambridge’s Fitzwilliam Museum 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, the Duchess’ patronage, in 2023 for the gallery’s reopening.
It is also expected to be used as part of the Fitzwilliam Museum’s youth engagement programmes, to encourage young people from all backgrounds to experience 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, the 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 later won the Visitors’ Choice prize.