Kensington Palace Releases Stunning Portraits of Kate Middleton Ahead of Her 40th Birthday

The Duchess of Cambridge is likely to celebrate the milestone birthday in low-key fashion.

Kate Middleton's milestone birthday calls for new portraits!

Kensington Palace released three new portraits of the Duchess of Cambridge on Saturday, ahead of Kate's 40th birthday. According to the Palace, the photos were taken in November at Kew Gardens by photographer Paolo Roversi.

The new portraits will become part of the Collection of the National Portrait Gallery, which is set to re-open in 2023. The portraits will be featured in the gallery's "Coming Home" project, which the palace dubs as "a nationwide initiative which sees portraits of well-known individuals being sent to locations which they are closely associated with." It'll give communities across the UK the opportunity to view famous works locally.

Paolo Roversi
Paolo Roversi
Paolo Roversi

Middleton, looking flawless and showing off jewelry that once belonged to Princess Diana, selected three destinations which she deemed to have a special meaning to her -- Berkshire in South England, St. Andrews in Scotland and Anglesey, an island off the coast of Wales. The portraits are slated to appear there later this year, with details set to be announced at a later time by the National Portrait Gallery.

While the milestone birthday's cause for a big celebration, royal expert Kate Nicholl tells ET she thinks Kate will have a low-key celebration.

"I think we are going to see the duchess celebrate her 40th -- it is a milestone birthday, it's an important birthday -- and I think there will be a celebration, but I think it will be a celebration for family and for close friends," Nicholl said. "There was talk of a big party which has apparently been downscaled because of COVID and because of the restrictions. But I suspect that Kate is probably happier having something a little bit more low-key. She had a big 21st birthday but I think that was the last big birthday that she really, really celebrated."

The soiree will be so low key, Nicholl thinks it's very likely Kate will bake her own cake.

"I know that William sometimes gets in the kitchen, but really, Kate is the master chef and she's also brilliant at baking cake, so I wouldn't be at all surprised if she makes her own birthday cake," she says. "Cakes have always been a big tradition in the Middleton family and Kate has revealed how the nights before her children's birthdays, she is often up late into the night putting the final touches to a birthday cake."