As if they were a normal middle-class family, Prince William and his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, opted against using professional photographers during their first official portrait with little Prince George yesterday. Instead, they decided to use a photo taken by Kate’s father, Michael Middleton. A topic of great worldly concern and significance, the recently leaked picture mostly drew praise despite its lack of professionalism, but detractors have let their opinions be known, sparking a debate in the social media universe (and maybe even in the real world). On one hand, the photo was rightly praised for its cuteness, but also condemned by photography critics and grumpy people obsessed with the image of the royal family. Two hashtags alone, #royalbaby and #princegeorge, have garnered thousands of tweets since the photo leaked yesterday.
Even some average folks are less than impressed. Others critics include photographers, who are probably just bitter they didn’t get hired. You can’t please everybody!
— Kirsty Matta (@kirstymatta) August 20, 2013
— Turn Key (@TurnKeyUK) August 20, 2013
There’s too much backlighting, not enough fill lighting for the #RoyalBaby photo to pass as anywhere near “professional” quality.
— Rebecca (@mllehazelwood) August 20, 2013
There was a significant positive response as well. The only approval that matters, of course, is Snooki’s.
— NiC0LE P0LiZZi (@snooki) August 19, 2013
— I. Giraud (@BlueShoes55) August 20, 2013
Some photographers are miffed by the negative reaction. A few went so far as to create a hashtag for their bitchy colleagues.
Other social media users simply don’t see this is as an important world event.
— Wack Ashimself (@wack885) August 19, 2013
— Stephen Sottile (@SottileStephen) August 20, 2013
Naturally, comedians think this royal baby thing has gone way overboard.
That black Labrador totally photo bombed the new #RoyalBaby portrait. What a gangsta.
— Imran Yusuf (@imranyusuf) August 20, 2013
In all seriousness, the fact that William and Kate didn’t use a professional photographer is unprecedented among European royalty. So we’ve compiled a gallery of famous royal portraits, ranging from relatively informal but still staged photos to full-fledged ceremonious shots.
2013: William and Kate, along with baby George and Tilly the retriever in the garden of the Middleton family home in Bucklebury, Berkshire. Gotta love the informal setting, the overexposed background and the pups photobombing the shot.
1951: Princess Elizabeth with her husband Prince Philip Duke of Edinburgh and their children, Prince Charles and Princess Anne. Get Prince Charles a set of sunglasses—the future’s so bright he’s gotta wear shades!
1948: Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, standing behind Princess Elizabeth, who is holding Prince Charles after his christening ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London. The professional setup and lighting doesn’t make up for the fact that he’s wearing a man dress.
1966: King Constantine of Greece and Queen Anne-Marie with their daughter Princess Alexia at Castle Tatoi, near Athens. This professionally lit and candidly caught photo balances cuteness with a lovely air of decorum.
Kind of has a John Waters feel to it, well done.
1960: Prince Rainier of Monaco holding his daughter, Caroline, while his wife holds their baby son, Albert, at their home. Despite Grace Kelly’s timeless beauty, this portrait, to put it mildly, is stuffy as shit.
2005: Crown Prince Frederik and Crown Princess Mary of Denmark present their four-day-old son at Rigshospitalet in Copenhagen. Why do royal babies sleep so much? Wake up, baby!
This was before the iPhone. Back in these days, photos took a while to snap. So they were probably told not smile. Then again, maybe the Czar and his compatriots were just grim people.
1896: Russian Czar Nicolas II and his wife Czarina Alexandra Fedorovna with their daughter Olga (baby) meeting the British Queen Victoria and her son, future King Edward II. The Czar obviously aims to impress…and to steal the souls of any unwitting onlookers. He was a nice guy.
Oh, Prince Daniel, your slicked back hair and immaculate glasses are simply Williamsburg chic.
2012: Sweden’s Crown Princess Victoria and Prince Daniel hold their three-week-old baby, Estelle, in Haga Slott outside Stockholm. Kudos to the photographer for dealing with a sleepy baby and making her look adorable.
1983: The Prince and Princess of Wales holding their baby son, Prince William, at home in Kensington Palace. This is a slice of the 1980s at its best with Princess Di’s Farrah Fawcett-like hair clearly stealing the show.