Kate Middleton's Birthday Portraits Represent Her "Unfurling Her Wings" to Become Queen, Body Language Expert Says

The Cambridges released three photos for the duchess' 40th.

The Duchess Of Cambridge Opens The Nook Children Hospice
(Image credit: Getty/Max Mumby/Indigo)

If, like me, you are a weird Kate Middleton nerd-slash-superfan, you probably spent your Sunday gawping at the three portraits of the duchess specially released for her 40th birthday.

If you had, like, plans on Jan. 9, here's what you missed: three stunning photos of Middleton by Paolo Roversi, which are to be exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in London.

For body language expert Judi James, these pictures are symbolic of what awaits the Duchess of Cambridge in the coming years. "Kate’s 40th birthday portraits show a final unfurling of her wings in terms of her role as future Queen," James tells Express.

"Previous birthday portraits and photos have shown Kate in different life roles as mother, wife and working member of the royal Firm, but at last we can see her fully acknowledging and embracing her future destiny in what are her only truly stand-alone birthday portraits to date.

"This launch of ‘brand Kate’ has been a long time coming, suggesting an ongoing sense of modesty and a desire to avoid stealing the spotlight.

"Incredibly this is almost the first time Kate has posed for her birthday with her eyes looking direct to camera.

"In some of her previous photos, she has adopted avoidance rituals, either looking away from the lens or being shot out and about on a royal visit.

"The photo in the red dress shows a woman finally happy and confident to look us straight in the eye and engage on a more personal and direct way.

"It suggests Kate finally ‘gets it’ that she is liked, admired and even loved by royal fans in her own right rather than just as a wife to William and mother to their three children."

Kate Middleton and Prince William smile at each other

(Image credit: Getty)

James' comments echo what all royal experts seem to be saying these days: that the duchess has unmistakably grown in confidence since she first joined the Royal Family. "She has become more relaxed and confident and has gradually spoken alongside William rather than letting him do all the talking," royal commentator Angela Levin previously told Marie Claire.

For body language expert Darren Stanton (speaking on behalf of Be My Bet), her fashion choices especially illustrate this evolution. "Bold colors, sequins and slightly more revealing designs are a very good indicator that Kate now feels like she has found a true inner confidence in her role within the Royal Family and within her relationship with William—with the pair often portraying a power couple when on the red carpet together," Stanton told Marie Claire.

Iris Goldsztajn
Morning Editor

Iris Goldsztajn is a London-based journalist, editor and author. She is the morning editor at Marie Claire, and her work has appeared in the likes of British Vogue, InStyle, Cosmopolitan, Refinery29 and SELF. Iris writes about everything from celebrity news and relationship advice to the pitfalls of diet culture and the joys of exercise. She has many opinions on Harry Styles, and can typically be found eating her body weight in cheap chocolate.