Prince William and Harry: The truth behind infamous portrait being removed

Kate Middleton will reopen the National Portrait Gallery next week. As the museum reopens one significant painting will be missing.

Portrait of Prince Harry and Prince William removed from gallery. Was it Kate Middleton’s fault?
© Danny Martindale / GETTY IMAGES
Portrait of Prince Harry and Prince William removed from gallery. Was it Kate Middleton’s fault?

As we approach the reopening of the National Portrait Gallery, rumours have been going around about Kate Middleton’s involvement in the choice of pieces that will be on display.

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After going through three years of refurbishment the museum will open to the public on Thursday 22 June.

The building holds ‘over 220,000 works’ including many pieces portraying Royals over the centuries.

While visitors will be excited to enter the building after so long they will also be looking for their favourite paintings of the royals.

They will still find many of them including pictures and paintings of Queen Elizabeth, Kate Middleton herself or King Charles III.

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However, one piece will be missing. A painting of younger Prince Harry and Prince William.

Prince William and Prince Harry ‘talking and laughing’

The painting by Nicky Phillips was first shown in 2010. In 2022, the painter opened up to the Sunday Times about how the process of painting the portrait.

Phillips explains that the pair ‘sat for five sessions’ sometimes together and sometimes separately. While they were together, Phillips continues saying that:

(The brothers) were looking at each other, talking and laughing. They were both utterly charming, quick-witted, and great fun.

This testimony of the closeness between the two brothers comes to no surprise as, at the time of the painting ,the two had a very strong relationship.

Prince William had gotten married the year before and pictures and videos of Prince Harrylaughing and having a good time with the couple were very frequently seen.

Phillips also says that:

William was very much the protective older brother, straightening Harry’s belt. It was perfect.

However, now the relationship between the two royal brothers is no longer the same. In recent years they have grown apart and been involved in a lot of controversy.

This is why the fact that the painting no longer being displayed holds such significance.

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The painter herself points that out when she adds:

Harry was very different back then. I suppose my painting has acquired historic significance.

And gossip has been spreading about Kate Middleton’s involvement in that decision as she is the Patron of the Gallery.

In defense of Kate Middleton

Princess Kate has been patron of the National Portrait Gallery since 2012. The gallery has also acquired many pieces of her throughout the years but Nicky Phillips’ piece definitely holds special significance for the Princess of Wales.

So the question on whether or not she might have been involved in the decision to not have the portrait displayed is relevant.

However, the National Portrait Gallery itself has come to set the record straight.

In a statement with Art News, the Gallery highlights the fact that the painting has not been on display at the London gallery since 2018.

They say:

We are only able to display a small percentage within our building. We regularly lend and tour our works, both nationally and internationally. This portrait by Nicky Philipps was included in a touring exhibition—Tudors to Windsors—which travelled between 2018 and 2021.

Since the rumours about Kate’s involvement wouldn’t stop the Gallery insisted with another statement this time specifying that

Decisions relating to the portraits on display at the National Portrait Gallery are made by the gallery’s curatorial team
Portrait of Prince Harry and Prince William removed from gallery. Was it Kate Middleton’s fault? TWITTER

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