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Kate Middleton Repeated a Dress to Unveil Her Controversial New Portrait

Kate Middleton has been framed--quite literally. The Duchess of Cambridge has had her lovely features permanently captured in a rather controversial portrait, the unveiling of which she attended today.
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Kate Middleton's first official portrait, painted by Paul Emsley, was unveiled this morning at London's National Portrait Gallery and, well, let's just say the reviews have been less than kind.

Middleton sat for the South African artist twice and requested that he portray her "natural self," reports Grazia. Emsley couldn't say enough nice things about the Duchess, telling press he found her to be a "very warm person."

"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," said Emsley, "that is really who she is."

While Kate is said to be "thrilled" with the new portrait, others were not so impressed. Sunday Times art critic Waldemar Januszczak said (via Daily Mail) the portrait "made [Middleton] 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."

Robin Simon, editor of the British Art Journal and Daily Mail art critic, went as far as to call the portait "rotten."

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"Fortunately, the Duchess of Cambridge looks nothing like this in real life," he went on.

Jeanne Becker, a Canadian television personality and fashion critic, wryly noted on Twitter, "Interesting to hear that Kate thinks her new portrait is 'amazing'. Shows she's not vain."

Despite mixed reviews on Middleton's portrait, I think we can all agree that the IRL Duchess looked gorgeous at the private unveiling, wearing a simple belted maroon dress from high street favorite Whistles. Despite its on-trend color, the frock, as Grazia notes, is actually over a year old. Kate wore the "Sophia-Rae" style on an official visit to Denmark in the fall of 2011. Which means there's no chance of nabbing it. And that means Whistles won't benefit from the so-called "Kate Middleton Effect."

What do you think of Kate's portrait?

Photos: Getty