Kate Middleton's 40th Birthday Portraits Are Straight Out of a Fairytale: See All 3!

Each photo will be officially displayed at one of three locations that hold special meaning to the Duchess of Cambridge

Kate Middleton on her 40th birthday. Photo: Paolo Roversi

Kate Middleton is celebrating her big birthday in stunning style.

The Duchess of Cambridge turns 40 on January 9, and to commemorate her milestone birthday, Kensington Palace released three special new portraits of the royal on Saturday.

The photos, which were taken in November at London's Kew Gardens by photographer Paolo Roversi, are worthy of a future Queen. In one black-and-white image, Kate delivers a vintage vibe in an elegant chiffon Alexander McQueen gown. Her traditional side profile pose shows off her diamond and pearl drop earrings, which belonged to Princess Diana. Her iconic sapphire engagement ring, which also belonged to her late mother-in-law, is also on display. And instead of her signature bouncy blowout, she opted for more refined curls.

Kate goes for full-on glam in a second photo that shows the beaming royal in a one-shoulder red satin dress (also by Alexander McQueen) with a dramatic sleeve and pockets. She accessorized the look with diamond earrings from Queen Elizabeth's collection.

A third photo sees Kate smiling in another one-shoulder dress with her hair swept over her shoulders. All three gowns were designed by Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, Kate's wedding dress designer.

Kate Middleton on her 40th birthday. Paolo Roversi

The portraits will enter the permanent collection of the National Portrait Gallery, of which Kate is Patron. Ahead of the Portrait Gallery's re-opening in 2023, the photographs will be part of its Coming Home project, a nationwide initiative that sees portraits of well-known individuals being sent to locations that they are closely associated with.

Kate Middleton on her 40th birthday. Paolo Roversi

The Duchess of Cambridge's new photos will be displayed over the course of 2022 in three places that hold special meaning to Kate: Berkshire, St. Andrews and Anglesey.

Kate grew up in Bucklebury, Berkshire, and often returns to spend time with her parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, who still live in the quiet village.

St. Andrews is an important spot for both Kate and Prince William as they met as freshmen at the University of St. Andrews in 2002.

And Anglesey is where the couple lived after their royal wedding in 2011. William and Kate rented an isolated cottage in Anglesey, Wales, as William trained nearby for the Royal Air Force. They moved to Kensington Palace with Prince George in 2013. At the Anglesey Show in 2013, William said: "This island has been our first home together, and it will always be an immensely special place for us both."

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, kate middleton
The Cambridge family's 2021 Christmas card. Duke and Duchess of Cambridge/Instagram

Kate is usually the one behind the camera, snapping photos of her and Prince William's three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. The royal couple recently shared a new photo of the family on their annual Christmas card.

The mom of three will spend her birthday privately amid the ongoing surge in COVID-19 cases across the U.K. Last year, she celebrated her 39th birthday with a tea party hosted by her husband and children at their country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk.

The Duchess of Cambridge is "flourishing," a royal insider told PEOPLE ahead of Kate's 40th birthday. "She has really come into her own."

Kate is preparing more than ever for her role as future queen consort alongside William, taking on more royal duties as Queen Elizabeth has canceled engagements due to recent health issues as well as Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's decision to step back as senior working royals.

Most recently, Kate hosted her first-ever Christmas carol concert (and debuted her piano skills!) at Westminster Abbey in tribute to the incredible work of individuals and organizations across the U.K. who have supported their communities through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kate Middleton piano
Kate Middleton. Alex Bramall

Kate has also entered into a new family dynamic. With 3-year-old son Prince Louis off to nursery school, all three of the couple's children are out of the toddler years. Still, Kate is heavily involved in the lives of Prince George, 8, Princess Charlotte, 6, and Prince Louis despite the helpful hand of nanny Maria Turrion Borrallo.

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Kate "runs things at home with the kids and the schedules," says a friend. "She is hugely involved in every single part of their day."

She is "more and more impressive as time goes on," says a source close to the royal household. "She is a focused and professional woman."

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