Few people get the chance to work closely with the Duchess of Cambridge but British Vogue editor Alexandra Shulman was given a rare glimpse into the royal’s life when she shot her for the magazine – and she’s shared the details of their encounter.
Kate, 34, was the cover star of Vogue for its 100th anniversary edition – the first time she posed for a magazine photoshoot.
So what was it like to work with one of the world’s most famous women?
“She’s incredibly likeable,” Shulman told ES Magazine. “She really is. She wants to do what she’s doing well, and she’s very professional.”
Shulman, who has edited the fashion bible for 24 years, explained how she thinks Kate differs from Princess Diana.
“Diana was more interested in that high-voltage celebrity, that was something she really embraced. The Duchess of Cambridge is prepared to do her bit, but it’s not one of the things that she most cares about.
“She loves her kids and the countryside. Dressing up, that’s a professional side to her. It’s a sort of uniform.”
Shulman managed to keep Kate’s cover shoot a secret for four months, despite being followed by a documentary crew.
In Richard Macer’s fly-on-the-wall documentary, Absolutely Fashion: Inside British Vogue, which aired last month, Shulman was filmed holding a meeting with creative director Jaime Perlman to discuss the cover.
As the pair pored over a series of white covers with graphics of “Vogue 100” on them, there was no hint it was an elaborate ploy to cover up the fact the royal would be gracing the centenary issue.
Macer explains he was told Shulman would make an important announcement on 28 April. His instinct was that the long-standing editor was going to announce her resignation.
The first he knew of the Duchess posing for the magazine was on the morning of the big announcement. He was taken to a secret location in central London and escorted down a long corridor.
He stepped into a room and realised he was in the main area of the National Portrait Gallery.
There was no sign of Shulman, but all became clear when he saw two portraits of the Duchess of Cambridge being hung on the wall.
Macer admitted he was impressed how she’d managed to get the Duchess on the cover.
“The centenary issue is selling like hot cakes and Alex is still at the top of her game. “Far from announcing her retirement, she’d pulled off the scoop of the year,” he said.
Shulman admitted she’d been waking up at 3am, feeling stressed, as the publication date approached. “I’ve never seemed like someone who carries stress with me,” she said. “But I do. I feel a huge sense of responsibility to deliver. I just want to do what I think should be done.”