OMFG! What happened? How does one manage to make a gorgeous, youthful and lithe woman like Kate look like this elderly spinster?
Believe it or not, this is not some provocative project cooked up by an attention seeking art student (or Morrissey) aiming to show us what Kate would look like if she was twenty years older, smoked, never washed her hair and ate junk food, but her first official portrait.
Obligingly, Kate has declared herself 'delighted' with the result, but few of Kate's fans seem likely to agree with he generous assesment. The Royalist, just back from vacation so excuse the long silence, is, quite frankly, horrified, shocked and astonished. It's an 'unwelcome home' present.
No doubt the evil genius art critic Brian Sewell who previously described the artist Paul Emsley's work as 'disgusting' is composing a savage screed for the Evening Standard right now. We'll point you to it just as soon as it lands.
Can this jowly face that will now be staring at us from the walls of the National Portrait Gallery - of which, to add insult to injury, she is patron - for all eternity really be the same woman who has so effortlessly dazzled the world's media with her looks over the past few years? Is that scratchy rug atop her head really meant to be Kate's famously silken locks? And what's going on with the mean, wierdly spaced eyes? And don't get me started on the nose. It's a hooter you'd only be delighted with if you were a snowman.
The picture is the work of artist Paul Emsley, the 2007 winner of the Gallery’s BP Portrait Award competition.
The Duchess took part in an initial meeting to talk through the process of the painting. This was followed by two sittings, in May and June 2012, at the artist's studio in the West Country, England, and Kensington Palace. Emsley later made use of a series of photographs produced during the sittings.
Emsley said today: "The Duchess explained that she would like to be portrayed naturally - her natural self - as opposed to her official self. She struck me as enormously open and generous and a very warm person. 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."
We say: He's dashed lucky not to be sent to the tower forthwith.
We confidently predict no further royal commissions for Emsley.