Three new photos of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, released to mark her 40th birthday

080122 Two of the images released to celebrate Kate's 40th birthday, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Paolo Roversi
Kate wears Alexander McQueen dresses in the photos. Credit: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Paolo Roversi.

Three new photos of the Duchess of Cambridge have been released to mark her 40th birthday on Sunday.

In the three portraits, taken at Kew Gardens in November, a relaxed-looking Kate wears different dresses by Alexander McQueen.

It is thought Kate will celebrate the milestone birthday with her family at their home of Anmer Hall in Norfolk.

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Royal commentators say the Duchess' birthday heralds the start of an important decade for the monarchy and the future queen, who will be at William’s side as events progress, watching her young family grow up and pursuing her own charitable interests.

Both the Queen and Prince Charles wished Kate a happy birthday on social media on Sunday, with a series of pictures of the duchess.

The images of the Duchess were captured by celebrated fashion photographer Paolo Roversi, famed for working with industry stars like Naomi Campbell and Kate Moss, who described photographing the Duchess as “a moment of pure joy” and said with her “positive energy” she can “bring hope to the whole world”.

Mr Roversi said he was "moved" by Kate's "warmth and friendly welcome and enchanted by her shining eyes that reflected the loveliness of her soul and her smile showing the generosity of her heart.

“It was a profound and rich experience for me, an unforgettable moment. I have met a wonderful person, a person who, with her positive energy, can bring hope to the whole world.”

Kate wears a red, one-shouldered Alexander McQueen dress and has her hands in her pockets. Credit: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Paolo Roversi

In one image Kate wears a striking red McQueen dress, earrings loaned by the Queen and beams at the camera as she appears to have her hands casually in the gown’s pockets.

Mr Roversi is known for his adventurous film and printing techniques and the remaining images have been produced in monochrome that give them an ethereal quality.

A smiling Kate looks directly into the camera in this black and white image. Credit: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Paolo Roversi

In one, a head and shoulders image, the duchess smiles broadly and in the other, with her engagement ring prominently on display, Kate is shown in profile and expressionless looking left.

She wears earrings that belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales, in both photographs.

The photos will enter the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, of which the Duchess is Patron.

Kate's engagement ring, which belonged to Princess Diana, can be seen clearly in the image. Credit: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Paolo Roversi

Ahead of her birthday the Duchess was praised for her “vision and commitment” in establishing her Royal Foundation Centre for Early Childhood to support the development of children.

Kate’s work championing research into a child’s formative years is the cornerstone of her public life and has been highlighted by a senior figure from of one of the country’s leading mental health charities for children and young people.

Michael Samuel, chairman of trustees at the Anna Freud National Centre for Children and Families, said Kate had shown “passion and compassion” in her role as the organisation’s patron.