Kate Tatler portrait prompts strong reaction online

But the painting also had supporters. “I actually don’t mind it because I don’t think the painting was meant to look like the Princess of Wales in a realistic way, but more like an image we recognise to be her. To me it works,” wrote Fafo.

“Painting in whatever medium you chose isn’t meant to be a photo, it’s an interpretation. She has captured the princess’s expression really well,” said Marie Therese.

Alastair Sooke, chief art critic of the Daily Telegraph, was less sympathetic, calling it “jaw-hits-the-floor bad”.

Kate Mansey, an assistant editor at The Times, was more circumspect: “I’m not quite sure what to say about this one, except, hmm…”

Tatler described the cover with measured understatement as being of “historic magnitude” – billing the painting as a “portrait of strength and dignity”.

The painter Hannah Uzor said it was “really important to capture the soul of the person” and she had tried to “get a sense of who she is”.

“Colour is one of the most important things in a work of art, because it can really speak to the atmosphere,” said the painter, in a social media post that said the “bluey, turquoise” background was a reference to Catherine’s green eyes.

The subject of the painting remains away from public events, as she recovers after a cancer diagnosis, announced in March.

An update this week from Kensington Palace said that princess would not return to work until allowed to by her medical team.

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