Kate Middleton’s Royal Painter Is the Victim of a Witch Hunt

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Photo: LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

Speaking publicly for the first time since the unveiling of his Kate Middleton portrait earlier this month, Paul Emsley told Hello: "Some of the words written about it were so personal ... I'd be inhuman if I said it didn't affect me. When you take on commissions like this it is hazardous and you expect a bit of flak, but I expected nothing like the criticism I received. It felt like a bit of a witch-hunt and people who had not even seen my portrait joined in." The Scottish-born artist thinks "half the problem" is that the painting doesn't photograph well and maintained that he wouldn't have changed anything about it. Emsley said, in the end, Kate's "words meant more to me than anything else said or written" — she reportedly called it "absolutely brilliant" — but did add that the duchess hasn't reached out to him since the backlash began. She's probably been busy.