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Piers Morgan Calls Kate Middleton's Official Portrait 'Mona Kate'

January 11, 2013 (8:05 pm) GMT
While the critics gave mixed responses, the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge are both satisfied with the result.

has joined some critics to weigh in on Kate Middleton's first official portrait. On Twitter, the CNN TV host gave a short comment about the painting of the Duchess of Cambridge, calling it a "Mona Kate."

Kate came to the National Portrait Gallery along with Prince William to see the painting Friday, January 11, two days after she turned 31 years old. She is portrayed wearing a blue top with her long, copper-tinted hair let loose and a faint smile on her face.

Despite the mixed responses, both are pleased with the outcome. "It's beautiful. It's absolutely beautiful," the Duke of Cambridge gushed. The Duchess also praised award-winning painter Paul Emsley for doing a good job.

One critic, however, points out the shadows under her eyes, another claims she looks plain in the portrait, and other says her smile looks more like a grimace. "He 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," art critic Waldemar Januszczak for the Sunday Times tells BBC News.

"The brief was that it should be a portrait which in some way expressed her natural self rather than her official self," Paul explained. "When you meet her, that really is appropriate. She really is that kind of a person. She's so nice to be with and it's genuine and I felt if the painting can convey something of that then it will have succeeded."

"She struck me as an enormously open and generous and a very warm person," the painter added. "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."

Regarding the criticisms, he simply shrugged them off, "A person whose image is so pervasive, for an artist it is really difficult to go beyond that and find something which is original."

Of the faint smile, he reasoned, "When I work with a portrait, I push it beyond just Realism, so I always had faith that I would go beyond that and find something original, and I think the fact that we got a half smile, or we've got a smile with a closed mouth, does make it slightly unique in that sense."

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