Kate’s True Colours

On Wednesday, Kate Middleton showed her true colours and took a break from her extended maternity leave to enjoy the royal perk of prime Wimbledon seats.  Dressed in a new vibrant red LK Bennett dress with a new haircut and what looks to be new hair extensions, Kate’s appearance seemed like a classic post-break-up f.u. move, getting all glammed up in attention-grabbing red with altered locks to symbolize a new chapter in life while dancing to Gloria Gaynor’s I Will Survive on the inside in order to show the ex it’s his loss.


I’m not really sure what split in Kate’s mind could have provoked this classic Kate break-up move. Kate never even flirted with Work so it’s not like that relationship could have ended and if Kate and Sense of Duty ever were really together, it obviously ended ages ago.  Kate and Black Eyeliner are still hot and heavy and going by recent paparazzi photos, Kate and Jeggings are still very much an item.  Perhaps Kate finally ended it with Pretending to Care, a pre-emptive strike against those who would question why Kate couldn’t be bothered showing up at the 7/7 Memorial the day before but could be coaxed out of extended maternity leave in order to sit in the Royal Box at Wimbledon.


Do you have any chloroform on you, Darling? I want to invite Andy Murray over to Anmer to play.

Unfortunately, the Palace does still have to promote the whole Kate Charade and scramble for ways to hide the fact that Kate can’t be bothered with the responsibilities that came with the Duchess title for which she waited around eight years to have.  Even though Kate is on extended maternity leave for which she doesn’t work enough to qualify, the Palace is hard at work creatively padding her event numbers because her paltry annual engagement totals are always at the bottom of the family’s list.  The birth of Charlotte and Sunday’s christening showed up in the Court Circular as official engagements for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.


Granted, being in labor is the closest thing Kate will ever get to work, but a private christening attended by twenty-two people from which even members of the British Royal Family were excluded counts as an official engagement?  Seriously?  Because they permitted the commoners to wait out in the rain for the honor of looking at their Royal High Horses on their way to a private ceremony?

Four of Princess Charlotte’s christening photos taken by Mario Testino were released this week and they are the perfect metaphor for the Cambridge’s overly-manipulated image that has been distorted to a state of lifeless awkwardness.

Testino was Princess Diana’s favorite photographer, his photos for Vanity Fair were the last portraits for which she sat prior to her death.  He is a highly sought-after photographer, not only for those still seeking anything with a Diana association, but because Testino has one well-honed talent: he makes women look skinnier.

In the group photo, there’s a bit of a fun house effect happening.  Something feels off about it and it’s not until you start to examine it that you see what Testino has done.  Not only has Testino PhotoShopped the Middletons and Windsors into candy-coated perfection, he has moved the subjects and altered the background.


This is a shot of the Drawing Room at Sandringham, the door on the left in between the two lit sconces is where the group photo was taken.


That door is significantly smaller in the christening photo, reduced by Testino to one narrow panel, and the lighting fixtures were removed as the entire backdrop was compacted to create an artificial feeling of togetherness between the subjects, some digital slight of hand to artificially manufacture that which the photographer was unable to capture.

Testino cut each figure out, modified them and pasted them into the altered background.  He didn’t get the positioning of the feet correct, though, I have drawn a vertical line using Pippa’s and Carole’s feet as the starting point which should bisect them down the middle.


Obviously Pippa’s head is turned but if you look at her neck, you can see how far Testino was off when recompiling the elements of the photo, his tinkering also left Pippa’s chest looking like she’s at Picasso levels of lopsided.  With Carole, he’s slightly less off.  And I’m not sure why there is a glowing red line under the couch in the back, perhaps it was left to distract from the pic’s patchwork or maybe it is meant to symbolize the love between William and Kate that is so passionate and intense, it manifests as flaming carpet snakes.


The beigeness of the Middleton family reportedly caused some issues for Testino who had to work around the Middletons matching their attire to Charlotte’s christening gown.  Pippa’s Emilia Wickstead dress was also too close in shade to the cream colored paint of Sandringham’s drawing room so Pippa had to be repositioned so that James’ dark sleeve could be used to delineate her arm.  A subtle shadow was also added along her nipped-in torso to help keep Pippa from looking like a floating head.


Back in 2009, Mario Testino told a Telegraph reporter, “The magic comes when a sitter is not self-conscious.”  Too bad Pippa couldn’t make it work with George Percy, perhaps with access to Hogwarts, a little life could have been injected into Charlotte’s christening photos.

Since Charlotte’s christening counted as an official event, I wonder who is picking up Mario Testino’s substantial tab?  Whether the cost is met by the Royal Family or the taxpayer, these stale photographic crumbs were a rip-off and certainly not value for the money in a time of austerity.


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51 thoughts on “Kate’s True Colours”

  1. It can’t be a coincidence that both of Kate’s christening outfits are cream/white. A dark or brighter color would provide contrast against the lace gown and baby’s skin, highlighting who should be the star of the day. Instead Charlotte is lost amongst another Middleton neutral styling fail.

    1. Kate’s fashion choices are rarely random, there is usually some kind of attached meaning whether its referencing her deceased mother-in-law or incorporating colors with some kind of tie-in to the event or location. At George’s christening, she also matched her clothing to his christening gown as a way of visually linking herself to a future king. Again she is reinforcing her status with her color selection at her daughter’s christening. As you pointed out, a darker color would have better showcased her child but then she wouldn’t have that unifying hue as a reminder of her role. Even if the marriage doesn’t last, she will always be the mother of the future heir and spare, unless of course the monarchy doesn’t make it that far.

      1. Agreed Lola, also during the flotilla parade, the Middleton women were reportedly said that each used a color from the UK flag, creating a subtle matching that wasn’t obvious because Kate wasn’t near them.

        Also Kate and Carole have worn the same dress, it escapes me if it has been once or twice. But aside the Diana-wardrobe inspirations, Carole is high on the list.

  2. Hi Lola!
    isn’t that red under the couch just the pattern of that part of the carpet?

    Odd how lopsided Pippa is….!

    Interesting about that door, and the sconces removed prove the photoshopping. I also think the photo with the four Cambridges was heavily edited, with the objective of making Kate look smaller than she really is.

    1. Hi, Vava! I believe it’s a flash bouncing off the red of the carpet, the red mark on the left isn’t opaque, you can actually see the carpet design through it and a small part of it bleeds onto Carole’s shoes.

      I think part of the reason Pippa is so lopsided is because of the manipulations done to her right side to sculpt a more hourglass shape, she was also moved and shadowed so she didn’t blend completely into the cream paint. The left side is more accurate to where Pippa’s breasts naturally fall.

      These photos are heavily PhotoShopped, even the Queen’s ankles have been slenderized which feels oddly wrong, I just don’t think anyone should be touching Her Majesty’s legs, even digitally.

  3. I yearn for the days when photography wasn’t so manipulated by computer imagery. Yes, there was air brushing, but those guys were geniuses at their work. I would like to see what Mr. Testino’s work looks like before the manipulation. That would show his true skill as a photographer.

    In the photo of Kate leaning in to talk to William, she looks so smugly happy to be in that moment and William looks like he’s thinking “why does she keep talking to me, can’t I just watch the match”

    Kate should just publicly announce that she has no plans to work as a royal again and stay at home. But then she wouldn’t get her celebrity encounters and the chance to put on those new clothes she’s bought and steal the spotlight from everyone. And despite what sugars say about her not liking the spotlight, she’s proven (especially with this red dress and new haircut) that she does. She knows darn well the press is going to be all over her when she steps out. How much better it is to stay away and then come back and make a big splash.

    So very tired of these two.

    1. As I wrote over on KMR, this is no shrinking violet. She loves the attention.


      Showing up at Wimbledon in a bright red dress that is so tight it shows all the lines of her bra front and back? Vanity and wanting the spotlight fully on herself.

      I hope the royal reporters keep up their work on twitter, pointing out and questioning every move these two make.

      1. The palace no doubt notices that Kate is going in the “look at me” direction that Diana did after she’d produced an heir & a spare. With Diana, increasingly it became all-about-her BUT the one main saving grace was that Diana did oh so many official engagements over the years.. Perhaps William’s second wife in the future will be more suitable to being part of the Royal family.

      2. Kate only wants the attention on her terms. She wants to be part-time famous.

        Kate’s lingerie was also visible under her christening McQueen, she looked like she was wearing the same bustier she had on at last year’s Order of the Garter.

        1. This is in response to My2Pence’s link of Kate at the christening. And this is my first time posting here as well; I really enjoy this blog as well as the pithy, intelligent comments here.

  4. Hi Lolo, first time poster here. First let me say I really enjoy your blog and folks’ comments too.

    Agree that Testino removed the panels
    with the sconces.

    I also feel the left half seems to be larger than the right. Are the Mids that much bigger than Charles, Philip etc? Even the edge of the painting on the left, seems to be higher than the one of the right. Not sure if Pippa’s feet are misaligned too. Sometimes photographs do produce anomalies, but something is off here.

    Seems unnecessary to change such a great backdrop.

    1. Welcome, pixy242! The photo feels lopsided because there are four Middletons standing on the left and only three Windsors on the right. The Middletons aren’t taller than the Windsors so there could be some height adjustment done in PhotoShop. Official heights can be off, I’ve noticed that many are fudged by half an inch to an inch and of course high heels and age-related shrinking factor in. But for reference, here are the heights of those in the photo:

      Prince William is just shy of 6’3″

      Kate Middleton is 5’8″ (often mistakenly reported as 5’9″).

      Queen Elizabeth is 5’4″

      Michael Middleton’s height is unknown. He’s a tough one to guess because he tends to stay a few steps behind those of known height, but I believe he is around 6′.

      Pippa Middleton is 5’5 1/4″ (her height is sometimes mistakenly given as 5’9″)

      James Middleton’s height is unknown but going by pictures of him next to Harry, I’d guesstimate that he’s approximately 5’10”.

      Carole Middleon’s height is unknown but approximately she’s 5’6 1/2″-5’7″.

      Prince Charles is 5’10”

      Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall is 5’7″ (at one point she was 5’8″ but she’s lost an inch)

      Prince Philip is 6’2″

      1. tks for the welcome.

        Its tough to estimate heights from pics. The women have heels and hats. But after looking at the group photos taken at the wedding and even George’s christening, it just seems off. Maybe it’s the extreme photoshopping they had to do to remove the sconce panels etc. Its almost as though they took the pic against a blue/green screen and superimposed it on the on the doctored background of the room. But then I am no expert.

        I would not have looked closely at all, if you hadn’t noticed the discrepancy first.

          1. She was extremely thin. That photo was taken in Canada, fresh off the wedding, so she was still at her Dukan skinniest.

            I’ve always read that she is 5’10”. Never made sense to me, as even in her 4″ Jimmy Choos, she’s still a few inches shorter than William.

  5. The court circular is a joke; engagements that SHOULD be counted never are (especially if you’re Harry) but those that shouldn’t are (especially if you’re lazy, greedy wastes like Waity and the Horse). Its absolutely DISGUSTING that these 2 would have the birth or anything less than actual work (ie: hospital visits, memorials, meeting dignitaries, etc.) counted as an engagement. Makes one wonder just how many of Harry’s engagements AREN’T being counted to make these 2 lazy arses look good… I mean, we all know how ALL his countless visits to hospitals and army bases are never counted – or acknowledged/put on the books, period – so it’s definitely happening… DISGUSTING!

    1. The Queen has to give approval first on what engagements make the Court Circular, so it’s a little strange to me that a woman who has dedicated her life to service is enabling this kind of pathological laziness. The British Royal Family is the Queen’s brand, instead of dealing with the employee issue directly, she is devaluing her product by padding Kate’s numbers.

      I do understand to a certain extent why Harry’s Sentebale engagements aren’t officially counted, there’s at least some precedence there with royals and home turf charities. With Sentebale, Harry isn’t representing the Queen, he is blazing his own trail that extends beyond the borders of the UK into the global community. His devotion to his work might not make the Court Circular but it is making meaningful changes in the world, not only in the lives of those living in Lesotho but also by reminding all citizens of the Earth of our global responsibility. I think it’s shameful Harry’s massive efforts with Invictus were not counted. I don’t think Walking with the Wounded made it in either. And yet last year, more than half of Kate’s engagements came from the New Zealand/Australia Royal Vacation Tour and included wine tasting, a raft ride, a playdate for George, a trip to the zoo, a boat race…

      1. I don’t mind Sentebale not being counted since that is such a personal/private thing for him but I honestly think things like his visits to hospitals, army bases, etc SHOULD be counted – even if maybe he doesn’t think so himself. LOL Those help the Monarchy just as much as a royal tour does (a REAL royal tour – not a mini-holiday like the stuff Waity and the Horse do).

        Invictus and Walking with the Wounded also should have been counted – especially the latter, as that took far more time, energy, etc., than any royal tour or engagement ever did before…

      2. I think Harry needs Sentebale like Madeleine of Sweden has Childhood. This is what Harry is building for his future and for his children’s future. He’ll be prepared to walk away, leave royal life, and have a firm charity future ahead for himself and his family.

      3. I found this article about Charles and Camilla recently. It’s really interesting, particularly the section at the end: “Charles and Camilla by numbers” which lists Camilla’s patronages and work tallies. Even with “maternity leave” taken into consideration, Kate’s efforts look very poor when compared to her stepmother-in-law’s.

        Kate is in a position to do real good in the world, and to achieve change for the better. She seems determined to squander this opportunity.

        Thank you Lola for your blog: it’s beautifully and cleverly written. I look forward to each new post.

        1. Love Lola and well said Erica.

          It’s interesting the fake PR closeness by the grinning workshy lazy and William at Wimbledon – all those fake grinning looks, was to counter the new article of William coworker – the beautiful educated professional Dr. Gemma , who will be flying with William …

          William and the middletons hangers on will be the end of a cheapen common monarchy.

  6. Hello, I wish I was more active here and on RD, but my schedule only allows mostly lurking. Love your blog and this is a great post, great detective work. Of course, once you pointed out the altered photos I looked real close and I now have one question? Where are Pippa’s legs? And look hard at her feet, they are VERY narrow!
    All in all, even before this post, I did not like the photos and thought everyone looked like cutouts. And don’t get me started on the photo with Kate and Charlotte. I do like the photo with George and William but I’m not convinced it’s because of close father/son relationship. More like Nanny Maria got a cute reaction from George and William looked at just the right moment.
    Keep up the good work, Lola!

    1. Thanks so much Autumn and welcome! These photos do have that paper doll quality of being cut out and placed on a background. The black and white of Prince William and George was definitely the best of a disappointing lot but on its own average at best, certainly not the work of a top photographer.

      Pippa’s legs do appear to be slightly more concealed by the sofa than they should be.

  7. Hi Lola,
    Another first timer here.
    I have enjoyed your blog for sometime now. I like your astute observations and your wit!
    I came accross a local satirical website and I can’t figure out how to send you the link! However please take a moment to google “The Ulster Fry Belfast Prince George” and imagine Liam Neeson reading it out loud!!!
    I do hope you like it!

    1. Anne – I googled this. It is very funny and probably reflects how little George really feels! Thanks for sharing this with us and hitting a home run first time up.

    2. Welcome, Anne, and thank you for the kind words! You can just paste links in your comments, sometimes comment sections don’t permit links because of Spammers but I have a filter and customized settings so only the first post of a new commenter requires manual approval.

      The referenced piece was hysterical, thanks for passing it along! Here’s the link for anyone else who is interested:

  8. I do not know if this true or not? This month Princess Char celebrates 4 years of marriage? Charlene has been studying the French language? This month the Princess of Monaco gave a speech in French & English? Please correct me if I am wrong?

    1. Halia, the number of the anniversary is correct. Char and Albert got married the same year as William and Kate, so they are both on four years. I don’t know about her studying and/or speaking French, but it would make sense to me.

    2. I know Charlene has been working with private tutors to learn French. I don’t follow Monaco because a friend of mine dated Albert so I have a bit of a soft spot for him and Charlene just knowing the kind of pressures my friend experienced being scrutinized as a potential princess. My general rule for blogging is that I don’t dish on anyone I have a personal connection to, although I have made a couple of exceptions.

  9. In that photo of the four Cambridges in front of that awful yellowish lawn Kate looks like she’s standing way in front of William. Her body is aimed straight at the camera, while William is more naturally turned a bit. It’s disjointed and gives me the impression that Kate and Charlotte weren’t really there with William and George, it was just a lousy job of pasting them in. At least try to make them look like a unit. And what’s with the left side of Kate’s dress way down at the bottom – she’s not that wide.

    But in the group photo, yes, Pippa seems to be a lady without legs but with two teeny-tiny feet. And there appears to be a bad patch job in the carpet next to where her right leg should be.

    Seriously, why can’t we have honest photographs. If the photographers are not 100% experts at their manipulations, the photos look like cr*p.

    Oh, and, seriously, the Queen’s purse on the floor beside her – Philip should have held the darned thing behind his back where his hands are.

    1. I’m pretty sure Testino intentionally included Her Majesty’s bag as a personal element to make the photo seem more intimate, just another grandmother with her bag at her feet. He’s a fashion photographer who sees accessories as conveying something personal about the subject. In the photos of Princess Diana, for example, the first thing he did was asked her to take off her jewelry, he felt they represented the princess and he wanted to photograph the woman. The outdoor Cambridge photo does feel like it’s two combined separate photos. I agree that these photos are lacking in honesty. They are so contrived and overly manipulated, they feel pointless. There’s a middle ground between brightly backlit backyard snaps taken by Michael Middleton and the glossy overworked paper doll creations of Mario Testino.

  10. I was surprised to see Kate in her red hot mama dress at Wimbledon. It’s a pretty dress, but seems dark and heavy for a daytime summer event. Kate’s dress also reminded me of the short red outfit that she wore to the Queen’s birthday river barge celebration years ago. Both outfits were tight, bright red and screamed for attention – all eyes on Kate, please! What strikes me as odd about her latest red number is that it seems to work at cross purposes with her desire to present herself as a devoted, stay-at-home country-gentry mom. She certainly doesn’t look “mumsy” here – more like a flashy celebrity. Will the real Kate Middleton please stand up?

    The formal christening photos are surreal, bizarre and slightly warped. They could have been painted by Salvador Dali. Pippa looks legless. The Middletons seem unnaturally taller than the Windsors, and I don’t think that they are. The sconces were photoshopped out to prevent James and Charles from having glowing antler globes over their heads (although that would have been hysterical). And then there’s Carole at dead center stage. I love the line that you drew through her, Lola. There she stands with one foot on the commoner side and the other on the royal side – slowly but surely inching in that direction no doubt.

  11. Excellent post Lola.

    I find photoshop a little disturbing in excess, I hate when people look like wax figures and this is the sense I get from the pictures: wax figures. It doesn’t seem like a happy event, it just feels so forced.

    Great job on spotting the work done on Sandringham, I hadn’t noticed that. And the clothes from the Middleton women reminds me of Karl Lagerfeld’s opinion on Kate: She’s so, so, so beige.

  12. Is it just me or are the shoes of James, Carol, and Charles not visible? All I see is some funny-looking shoes of Pippa’s and one of Camilla’s, even though all five of them are basically in line. I guess the centre three decided to kneel on a bench that also has no visible legs. The men’s shoes would be black, but surely Carol’s light-colored shoes should be visible when you make a straight line from Pippa’s over to Camilla’s.

    1. Carole’s shoes are visible, I used them as a reference point for the vertical line showing where her center should be according to shoe placement. The tip of Prince Charles’ shoe is visible right behind the sofa leg that is between Kate’s and Her Majesty’s legs. Its placement looks a little off to me but since there isn’t a second shoe to go by, I couldn’t do a line to show how far off they are. Camilla’s are even harder to spot, there’s a teeny tiny sliver visible through Her Majesty’s legs (that feels unseemly to type) and the other is mostly obscured by the rear sofa leg. Camilla’s shoes should appear sharper than they do so I have a feeling there is a reduced opacity in that layer to better fudge the foot positioning. Pippa’s shoes are actually next to the rear sofa leg so she is further forward than Camilla. James either has tiny feet that have been lost in the shadows or they were eaten by the red glowing carpet snakes.

  13. Thanks for breaking the photo down for us Lola. I think that answers the question about why it was taking so long for the photos to be released. That’s a huge amount of Photoshop used there. They also played with the faces too, Pippa looks pretty, James had work done to his beard (less hobo, more Williamsburg hipster beard now), Carole’s face and hair was worked on, etc.
    I had also thought that engagement photo of William and Kate (kate in Reiss) was heavily photoshopped but not to this extent.

  14. Sucks they’re being allowed to imprint on history like this. God pray for the monarchy because Waity will effectively ruin it. When her husband is no more than a pauper and the gravy train has ran out, she’ll shit herself making her underwear run! Oh wait… She wears none…

  15. I have never gone gaga over kate and will, everything they do is so underwhelming, the only next great thing is the coronation, can u imagine how awful these two will look! Their wedding and christenings despite all the money they have have been a big dissappointmen!! William should never have married kate, shes brought absolutely nothing with her, thats why l know she will use her kids for PR to the maximum, like mother like daughter, kate is a clone of carol!!

    1. She was/is an awful choice (and mr. bill middleton knows it, that’s why he avoids doing engagements with her).

      Wills might make it to a coronation (I seriously doubt it, the plebs expect the monarch to go through daily red boxes, in addition to working 300+ yearly engagements), but there is no way she’ll be at his side.

      This whole full time perks, part time duty business is going to bite them in the ass one of these days and they have nothing left to fall back on.

      Harry is seemingly keeping his distance, the plebs are sick to death of royal baby crap. They don’t have a work ethic or personality to rely on. It’s probably not a great plan to continue to shit on the reporters and photographers at every turn, while ma midd organizes pap shots of supermummy at the same time.

    2. I’m not sure I would classify Kate as a Carole Clone, she’s more of a Poppet. Carole doesn’t use her powers for good but at least she puts some effort into her evil plotting, Kate’s abilities are limited mostly to the limpet power of clinging.

  16. My word are Bill’s teeth ever white in this picture.

    Red and cream are Kate Middleton’s signature ‘smug’ colors when her mood is elevated. Both stand out against the neutrals most people are wearing these days.

  17. I knew something was wrong with that picture and was thinking (after the Diana years and the pics came fast after the events) that they were being photoshopped like crazy. Lola you found all of the issues and WOW everyone has such smooth skin , even the Queen. Amazing, as are her skinny ankles. The one thing I will give Diana is that she REALLY seemed to care and love her boys. Honestly, Kate looks like holding the baby is a total chore, and in the videos (all of them) does not ever seem to look down at her lovingly nor does she exhibit any maternal natural behavior towards George. Maybe it is just that I have only seen a few videos and maybe she is a great mom, but I am not seeing it. Thanks for the great spot on pick ups on all the cra cra photoshop work done on that pic.

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