The Duchess of Cambridge's first official portrait has been unveiled - and she described it as "amazing".

Award-winning artist Paul Emsley created the head and shoulders painting of the duchess set against his trademark dark background.

Kate's painting was commissioned by the National Portrait Gallery and, following her suggestion, depicts her natural, not official, persona.

The duchess was joined by her husband William for a private viewing of the painting on Friday before it goes on display to the public.

The royal couple spent around 10 minutes looking at the portrait privately, then met Emsley and his wife Susanne and daughter Marie.

Kate, who wore a burgundy dress by Whistles for the viewing, has been suffering from a rare form of pregnancy sickness but looked well and smiled as she chatted to the artist. She told him: "It's just amazing, I thought it was brilliant."

William also had high praise for the painting, saying: "It's beautiful, it's absolutely beautiful."

The Cambridges later attended a private breakfast reception at the London gallery to mark the unveiling. Among the guests were Kate's parents Carole and Michael Middleton and her sister and brother Pippa and James.

The unveiling of the duchess's portrait generated huge interest among the media, with dozens of photographers, cameramen and reporters crowding round the painting and its artist.

Asked what Kate, who has a history of art degree, thought of it, Emsley replied: "I think, from what I can see this morning, she's delighted with it. I'm very happy about that."