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Sunday, 13 January 2013 20:18
Emsley’s Kate Middleton’s portrait shows age but no Mona Lisa
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kate-middleton-portraitKate Middleton’s new portrait has just been unveiled in London.

She is said to "be thrilled" and "love it," as does her husband, Prince William.

Most of England doesn’t like it, though.

The Daily Mail’s art critic called it "rotten." Actually, she called it, "ghastly," and "rotten," and "an out-and-out disaster."

But I don’t know.

Kate’s new portrait actually looks quite like her.

It’s just closer-up than we normally look at her.

The artist, Paul Emsley, has in fact forced us to look carefully at the woman who is sometimes called the future of the British monarchy.

What do we see?

It’s a bit different than Kate’s airbrushed covers on People Magazine and Hello!

It’s definitely more real.

We see the longish face of an aging woman who hides behind her hair. The hair seems more orangish than her hairdresser would prefer, but in fact, Kate Middleton colors her hair, and it is sometimes brighter than its natural hue. Some critics complained that portrait Kate has wrinkled skin, but perhaps Kate sat for the painting between her Botox appointments.

One onlooker at the gallery yesterday couldn’t get over what they described as her "grey, smoker’s skin," but in fact, Kate is quite a smoker, although not usually photographed while lighting up. Prince William and his brother, Prince Harry, are also smokers. And smoking changes your skin, even when you are relatively young.

It greys you out.

And partying non-stop, slugging down "crackbaby" cocktails, and dancing the night away at Boujis and other nightclubs, as William and Kate did for many years, puts those fine lines on your face that may not show beneath makeup and the glare of a paparazzi flashbulb, but these are the things that the artist’s eye captures right away.

Emsley definitely knew and understood his subject.

Kate’s clearly swollen nose could also have a root cause, but let’s not go there now.

Complaints that the artist painted her mouth in a "grimace" rather than a Mona Lisa-like enigmatic smile are also interesting. Kate is not the Mona Lisa! She smirks quite a lot, and in the portrait, her closed mouth could well be twisting into that, or perhaps a sneer.

The alternative was to paint Kate smiling with her teeth, which are unnaturally bleached a blinding white. In group shots with the Queen and other "un-retouched" royals, Kate’s toothy, Teflon smile often looks as though a photo editor took a "white out" paintbrush to her mouth.

Kate’s smirky, sneering smiles were clearly visible at the Royal Wedding, and they pop up all the time at photo opportunities.

She is used to smiling this way. And she has much to smile about.

After all, this is a woman who spent a decade servicing the heir of the heir to the throne, who snubbed the Queen of England at Christmas, and who appeared at her wedding as a virginal bride. Only a short while ago, a woman like Kate whose uncle openly snorts coke and procures hookers, who has jaunted about with women who own and operate a sex-party business, whose parents brazenly make millions off their "royal connections," would not have been vetted to marry into the Royal Family in a month of Sundays.

Just ask Koo Stark.

Kate’s new portrait looks real enough.

Emsley’s portrait has definitely captured something with Kate Middleton. It tells a story that can be easily seen, but it’s a story that many would prefer not to know.

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