Kate Middleton's and Meghan Markle's contrasting 40th-birthday celebrations show how their royal roles are evolving

The Duchess of Cambridge and the Duchess of Sussex on their 40th birthdays.
  • Kate Middleton celebrated her 40th birthday with a series of regal photos.
  • The photos, by Paolo Roversi, show the duchess stepping into her future role as queen.
  • Meanwhile, Meghan Markle used her 40th birthday to highlight a mentorship project.

The Duchess of Cambridge posed for three professional photos in celebration of her 40th birthday on Sunday.

The photos, taken by Paolo Roversi , show the duchess posing in London's Kew Gardens and wearing a series of Alexander McQueen ball gowns. The images portray a regal duchess. Kate Middleton has previously taken a more casual approach to photo shoots.
Portraits taken in November of Kate Middleton, who celebrated her 40th birthday on January 9.

It was a complete contrast to the Duchess of Sussex's 40th-birthday celebrations. In August 2020, Meghan Markle used her birthday to promote 40x40, an initiative that encouraged the public to give 40 minutes of their time to support women going back to work .

For the project, Markle shared a comedic video on her website featuring Melissa McCarthy, in which the pair joked about getting matching tattoos.
Meghan Markle and Melissa McCarthy promoting the 40x40 project.

Both Middleton and Markle used their milestone birthdays to redefine their royal roles — and it shows just how differently their paths are.

Middleton is stepping into her role as the future queen, while Markle is focusing on her celebrity status

Insider's Bethany Dawson reported Middleton's photos were considered more formal than her first royal portrait, a painting by Paul Emsley in 2012.

Roversi's photos were inspired by old photos of Queen Victoria and Queen Elizabeth II and showed Middleton's "regal side," The Sun's Matt Wilkinson said.

"The photographer has clearly been inspired by Cecil Beaton's portraits of the Queen and the queen mother," the royal commentator Richard FitzWilliam told Insider.

"Catherine's interest in photography and her patronage of the National Portrait Gallery were highly significant in choosing these poses. Above all, these photographs are those of a future queen," he added.

Kinsey Schofield, the founder of the royal blog To Di for Daily, told Insider the photos reflected the "comfort and confidence" Middleton developed in recent years.

For Markle, who left royal life behind in 2020 , there were few traces of her royal roots in her 40th-birthday video, other than McCarthy jokingly wearing a fascinator and sipping tea.

Instead, the focus was on the duchess' newfound celebrity status, as she announced that stars such as Adele, Amanda Gorman, and Stella McCartney had agreed to join her initiative.

"These are two very different women with totally different futures," FitzWilliam said. "It would be a wonderful step in their 40th year if the rift in the royal family could be healed and, despite their differences, that they could both be friends."

Representatives for Kensington Palace and the Duchess of Sussex did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Read the original article on Insider

Comments / 69

Happy cat

There is absolutely no comparison to Kate and Meghan. Kate has worked tirelessly for charities that actually produce results without the press documenting or being photographed doing it. Meghan has yet to do anything charitable except promoting herself and making sure she was photographed doing it.

Laura Flintom

"redefine their royal roles"...Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge is the future queen. Meghan Markle left the royal family. She has no "Royal role" to define. She's simply using her "title" for profit

Moni B.

The trio of birthday photos reflect the future Queen Consort's position within the British Royal Family. The other Duchess' abysmal attempt to make an impact in the advancement of women in the workforce was a huge flop. MM used her birthday as a means to promote herself instead of sincerely wanting to empower women. It was a disaster because the public saw through her faux charitable endeavor.


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