The duchess, still widely known by her pre-royal name Kate Middleton, is apparently happy with the painting – she is reportedly ‘thrilled’ with artist Paul Emsley’s work, saying “It’s just amazing, I thought it was brilliant.”

Husband Will was equally impressed, saying “It’s beautiful, it’s absolutely beautiful.” 

Snooty art critics have put the boot in, deriding the work, with The Sunday Times Waldemar Januszczak saying “He [Paul Emsley] made her look older than she is and her eyes don’t sparkle in the way that they do and there’s something rather dour about the face.”

“Fortunately, the Duchess of Cambridge looks nothing like this in real life. I’m really sad to say this is a rotten portrait.” said Robin Simon, the Daily Mail’s art critic.

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Ben Luke of The Evening Standard said the portrait was “an image of a mature thirtysomething woman – perhaps too mature, since she appears older here than she does under the glare of the news cameras.” and that it was “something of a missed opportunity.”

Emsley was keen to capture Middleton’s “charm, serenity and intelligence”

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Kate Middleton at a royal engagement in 2012 (Getty images) 

“The Duchess explained to me that she would like to be portrayed naturally…After initially feeling it was going to be an unsmiling portrait, I think it was the right choice in the end to have her smiling – that is really who she is.” explained award-winning artist Emsley, who worked for many years in South Africa but was born in Scotland.

According to The Guardian, Emsley said meeing Kate and Will was  “a delightful experience.”  

What do you think? Does this capture the best of Kate?

The portrait, titled HRH The Duchess of Cambridge, goes on public  display at the National Portrait Gallery in London from today. 

Image via ArtFund/YouTube