Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge, Receives Lifetime Honorary Membership from RPS - Deserved?

Kate Middleton, The Duchess of Cambridge, Receives Lifetime Honorary Membership from RPS - Deserved?

The Royal Photographic Society today announced that Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, will be receiving an honorary lifetime membership. She will likely become the first person to receive the accolade without having won one of the society's awards. Question marks have been raised as to whether the amateur photographer's work is deemed worthy of such an honor.

The society, established in 1853, is internationally respected and its awards are highly sought after in the photographic community. Many of the most reputable photographers worldwide have become winners of their awards. But the news that RPS will provide the future Queen of England with a $150-per-year-saving for membership has not gone down well on social media.




A fair chunk of critics will be anti-royalists, but from an objective perspective of her work, it's hard to argue with such comments as, "@The_RPS Jesus you are kidding. To think of the many talented photographers who will have failed at even LRPS and you reward family snaps?" from @Stoneysnaps.

Whilst it is a worthy news piece the future Queen has taken up photography, for such a well regarded society to be celebrating The Duchess' work has made the RPS vulnerable to intense criticism. The official first pictures of Princess Charlotte are adorable for sure, but even Kate Middleton herself must see this as a publicity stunt from the RPS.

Whilst there has been an influx in celebrities gaining an unreasonable amount of exposure (Brooklyn Beckham we're looking at you), we look toward photography communities and societies to preserve the integrity of the judging of photographic expertise. Sadly, the RPS has suffered a serious lack of judgment in this case.

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Gordon Pritchard's picture

This is akin to universities giving honorary degrees to people who've never attended them. It's just PR for the RPS. You should make her an honorary member of fstoppers then you can claim that there is royalty in your membership. LOL

Alex Cooke's picture

I wonder how many celebrities we can make honorary members before people catch on. 🤔

William Masters's picture

If you make me an honorary member of Fstoppers, maybe I can eventually become royalty. Just a thought.

Jeff Newton's picture

Can I just say, I'm not a celebrity (although I'm well known in my family) but I am British so 1% royal and my surname links me to Sir Isaac Newton. I can't prove any link but I prefer Apple Mac to Windows and my photos of Apple's are very good so I feel a very close link with him. Is this enough to get me an honorary Fstoppers?

Alex Cooke's picture

Isaac Newton is actually my great-times-17 (or something like that) grandfather, so you'll have to get through me.

Paul Parkinson's picture

With one eye, too, to the likely next Patron of the RPS when Her Maj finally shuffles off this mortal coil.

LA M's picture

Diminishes the work of other who deserve it more...but I agree. PR.

Anonymous's picture

Definitely PR but I don't really care that much. I'd want to see her work to be totally sure it's all PR. Even if it is though It doesn't really have anything to do with me so I don't really care.

Ed B.'s picture

I'd like to see Pippa get this honor, too.

Jane Bailey's picture

They have only given her membership not a qualification. As it is the ROYAL Photographic Society I would suggest the patronage should have something to do with the Royal Family! At least she is a photographer and learning the art so she will have an interest in the society.

Howard Ashton-Jones's picture

Maybe the article should be "Kate gets Free membership".. then no one wold have got upset or confused thinking she had been given an award for her photography .. :)

Simon Patterson's picture

Let's face it - the British Royal family exists solely for marketing. So this move is simply the RPS using the royals for their intended purpose. Good on the RPS for making the most of their opportunity, I say.

William Sterling's picture

I see no problem with an honorary membership for someone who could do so much for the society in the future. I don't think the RPS is saying Kate's snapshots raise to the level of a professional photographer. Honorary memberships for celebrities are a time honored way of getting an organization needed publicity. Well done RPS.

Mr Hogwallop's picture

It probably raised the interest in RPS with casual photographers in the UK or other royal lovin' places. So it's good PR move.

Deleted Account's picture

Members of the Royal Family are often in these positions and I agree with earlier comments, this is likely going to turn into official patronage at some point. It also lines up with her other patronage roles, which celebrate the arts, so I can't see harm in it.

Reginald Walton's picture

Well she probably doesn't deserve it, no more than President Obama deserved winning the Nobel Peace Prize before he took office 8 years ago, but that's how these things tend to work. And no this is not a bash on the President; just using that as an example. Chip Kelly who has been fired twice for lousy seasons as an NFL coach will probably get another head coaching job - that's just how it works.