Royal artist 'savaged' for painting Prince William with 'too much hair'

Nicky Philipps painted Prince William and Prince Harry for their first joint portrait over a decade ago

Royal artist 'savaged' for Prince William's hair in portrait
(Image credit: Getty)

A royal artist has revealed she was 'savaged' for her depiction of Prince William in a family portrait, after being accused of painting him with 'too much hair'.


A renowned artist has revealed that she was 'savaged' by the public for misrepresenting Prince William after critics blasted her impression of the future King's hair.  

Nicky Philipps was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery to paint the Duke of Cambridge and his younger brother, Prince Harry, in 2008, for their first-ever double portrait. The lifelike image shows the royal siblings dressed in military uniform and chatting at Clarence House, Prince Charles' current residence, and the home of the late Queen Mother. 

The Welsh painter has now recalled how she was slated for being a little too generous when it came to her depiction of the Duke's receding hairline. 

Prince Harry and Prince William portrait

Nicky Philipps with her double portrait of Prince William and Prince Harry 

(Image credit: Getty)

Speaking on the latest episode of ITV's Keeping Up With The Aristocrats, Nicky spoke openly about the backlash she received over the divisive portrait. 

"I got savaged for giving William too much hair," she admitted. By the time the oil painting was unveiled in 2010, the Duke of Cambridge's head was looking quite different from Nicky's portrayal. 

"I think the poor chap lost quite a lot of it in 2009. I don’t know what happened then but it all fell out," she added. 

Prince William's fair hair began noticeably thinning in his late twenties, and by the time he married Kate Middleton in April 2011, at the age of 29, he had lost a significant patch on his crown. 

Twelve years on and the father-of-three is nearly completely bald—but it looks like he hasn't exactly lost sleep over it. The Duke cracked a joke about his shedding scalp during a brief encounter with barbershop staff in 2017, quipping, "I don’t have much hair, I can’t give you much business." 

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge arrives to meet with military personnel and veterans

Prince William has now lost most of his hair 

(Image credit: Photo by Jeff J Mitchell - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

Despite the fleeting criticism of her portrait, Nicky's memory of painting the iconic duo remains untainted. The talented artist recalled how both brothers posed for five 90 minute sittings and diligently followed her instructions as she whipped up her masterpiece.

"They were lovely. Very patient. Very obliging, and I hope they enjoyed it," she told the Guardian in 2010. "When they were together they just chatted away between each other when I didn't need them to do something specific."

Nicky's touching account is a far cry from the stories surrounding the royal pair's current relationship, which has been notoriously tense for the past couple of years. 

It's understood that Prince William’s conflict with Harry dates back to the Duke of Sussex's decision to withdraw from the Royal Family in January 2020, leaving him shouldering much of the weight of the future of the British monarchy. The brothers have seen each other twice since the high-profile departure, at Prince Philip's funeral last April and again at Princess Diana's statue unveiling in July, but have reportedly yet to make a full reconciliation. 

Emma is a news writer for woman&home and My Imperfect Life. She covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health or lifestyle story. When she's not reporting on the British monarchy and A-list celebs, you can find her whipping up vegan treats and running the roads to cheesy '90s pop music...but not at the same time, obviously.