Kate Middleton has perfect hair and a Mona Lisa smile in her first official portrait (Plus: How she spent her 31st birthday!)

Catherine Duchess Cambridge first official portrait Whistles dress
Left: Portrait courtesy dukeandduchessofcambridge.org; Right: Photography by John Stillwell – WPA Pool/Getty Images

Catherine Duchess Cambridge first official portrait Whistles dress
Left: Portrait courtesy dukeandduchessofcambridge.org; Right: Photography by John Stillwell – WPA Pool/Getty Images

See Kate Middleton’s outfit up close »

The first official painted portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge was unveiled today in London and reviews are… mixed, to put it lightly. Created by artist Paul Emsley, the painting is quite dark, save for the glowing face of a serene-looking Kate Middleton with more of a Mona Lisa half-smile than the joyful grin we’re used to. “The Duchess explained that she would like to be portrayed naturally—her natural self—as opposed to her official self,” explained Emsley in a video about the work (which you can watch below). And yet, the painting seems much more official than casual—we’re not the only ones who think it would be the perfect portrait to appear on, say, currency? (We can hope!)

The painting does, however, capture Kate Middleton’s enviable hair. “We did say in the beginning we were going to make a feature of her hair, because it is a strong feature about her and everyone, I think, recognizes her in part through her lovely hair,” Emsley noted. Most importantly, Kate is said to be “thrilled” with the final product. She attended a private unveiling this morning at the National Portrait Gallery with Prince William (though no doubt saw the work in progress last summer during her two sittings with the artist). To contrast the blues and teals of the painting Kate wore a burgundy silk dress from Whistles. Alas, no royal baby bump was on view, though given the high Jimmy Choo heels she was wearing, we’ll assume Kate is feeling much better.

Further evidence of all things being okay with the royal baby also broke yesterday, when photos were released of Kate, William and the rest of the Middleton family at an evening performance of Cirque du Soleil’s Kooza for Kate’s 31st birthday. Although we’re curious at to who filmed the family as they watched the show, the footage is quite adorable and Kate’s “omg omg omg” expressions (if you’ve ever seen a Cirque du Soleil show you get it) rival those made last summer at Wimbledon.