Kate Middleton is always camera ready! The 34-year-old Duchess of Cambridge let the world see a more relaxed side of her during her casual countryside photo shoot with Vogue. The series of portraits was the first time the royal style icon posed for a magazine and the results were perfection.
The mother of Prince George and Princess Charlotte stated that she wanted the pictures to reflect a rarely-seen element of her private life. The no-frills snapshots showed the mom-of-two in her off-duty clothing of choice, including jeans and T-shirts.
The Vogue images are on display at the National Portrait Gallery in the Vogue 100: A Century of Style exhibit – and in celebration, we take a look behind the scenes at Kate's big shoot.
The top secret shoot took place in a late January morning in the Norfolk, England countryside. It's an area close to Kate's heart; she and Prince William reside in a nearby large country house called Anmer Hall when they're not at Kensington Palace. The 10-bedroom home was gifted to the couple by Queen Elizabeth, and was where they retreated after Princess Charlotte's birth last year.
Kate requested that the Vogue commission was given to a British photographer "for whom this would be a new opportunity", and after some discussion London-born Josh Olins was chosen for the job.
The 34-year-old has worked for a number of publications, including Vogue and Interview magazine, and is known for the "quiet elegance of his work and his 'woman' who has polish but also a degree of understatement".
"This was the Duchess' first sitting for a magazine and she was a joy to work with, a natural," Josh said in a press release. "I am incredibly grateful to (editor) Alexandra Shulman for placing her faith in me for such an important and historic assignment."
Kate really set the tone for the day when she arrived for the photoshoot in jeans and a parka jacket, her hair in big rollers.Vogue fashion director Lucinda Chambers gathered 10 suitcases of potential outfits for the Duchess, and once Kate had sifted through the clothes of the rails, told Lucinda she could put her in "whatever she wanted".
In the cover photo, Kate can seen wearing a charcoal brown double-breasted suede coat and shirt by Burberry, and a wide-brimmed hat from London vintage shop Beyond Retro. In a second image, Kate showcases a simple striped T-shirt from French store Petit Bateau and navy Burberry pants.
The hair and make-up
Kate arrived at the country cottage location with her entrusted hairdresser Amanda Tucker, who was dragging a case of products behind her. Amanda has been by Kate's side on many a momentous occasion – at the hospital after the births of George and Charlotte, and most recently accompanying her on the royal tour to India and Bhutan. It comes as no surprise that she was called upon to create Kate's famous blowout for the outdoor shoot.
Kate's make-up was done on the day by Sally Branka, and was in keeping with the relaxed tone of the shoot. The look was both simple and fresh, her eyes lightly lined in brown and a natural color on her lips.
Kate drove herself to the photoshoot in a Land Rover Defender; after arriving she joked about how she must have looked to anyone who saw her driving around in rollers. The vehicle, which appears in the background of one of the shots, stopped being produced in the UK in late January of this year.
It's not surprising that William and Kate own the British SUV – the royal family have long been customers of Land Rover, with the Queen often pictured driving around in her Defender.