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.
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.