Portrait of William and Kate by Jamie Coreth

For the first time, a joint portrait has been painted of Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge. The portrait by Jamie Coreth was commissioned last year by the Cambridgeshire Royal Portrait Fund and was unveiled by the couple as they visited the county for a day of engagements.

“It’s quite big,” said William as he first saw it on display at the Fitzwilliam Museum, where it will stay for three years (aside from a short stint at the National Portrait Gallery in 2023 for its reopening.)

The painting captures the couple looking together at something off the canvas. They are wearing classic “day event” clothes. William’s hand is in his pocket, they are smiling and clearly comfortable with having their portrait painted, which is perhaps a good thing as it is going to be a regular occurrence.

“I wanted to show Their Royal Highnesses in a manner where they appeared both relaxed and approachable, as well as elegant and dignified,” explained Coreth, in the palace press release. “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 joint portrait of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, unveiled on June 23, 2022 (Credit: Jamie Coreth / Fine Art Commissions)

The portrait is filled with allusions to Cambridge. Pinned to Kate’s bodice is the Duchess of Cambridge’s Brooch. Believed to have been made by Garrard & Co in the mid-19th century, the pearl-and-diamond brooch belonged to Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge (1797-1889), a daughter-in-law of George III. It was passed down her family’s female line from her daughter, Princess Mary Adelaide, Duchess of Teck, to her daughter, Queen Mary and to her granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II. Now, it has been worn by the wife of the original owner’s great-great-great-great grandson.

The classically elegant design has made it a favourite of its wearers. It is 7.2 cm x 3.3 cm and features large pearl button within a circle of 14 brilliant diamonds from which is suspended a diamond-set baroque pearl (that setting is detachable), according to the authoritative The Queen’s Diamonds by Hugh Roberts.

Queen Mary wore it for the christening of Elizabeth in 1926 and then Elizabeth’s eldest, Charles, in 1948. And it’s one of Queen Elizabeth II’s favourites. The royal jewellery blog, From Her Majesty’s Jewel Vault, has tracked 29 appearances in the past decade alone.

Kate wears other historic royal jewellery, including the Collingwood diamond-and-pearl drop earrings that belonged to Diana, Princess of Wales, as well as her three-strand pearl bracelet created by Nigel Milne in 1988. (Her dress is by The Vampire’s Wife (yup, that’s the name of the design firm) and her shoes are by Manolo Blahnik.)

The Cambridgeshire connections within the portrait don’t stop there: “the artist worked to incorporate the City of Cambridge into the portrait by painting the background with the tones and colours of many of the historical stone buildings that are synonymous with the city. The portrait also includes the use of a hexagonal architectural motif which can be seen on buildings across Cambridge,” the press release stated.