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She said Freud was “a complete one-off … exciting, interesting, funny and serious _ every single personality trait wrapped up in one person.”

“Lucian Freud: Portraits” is open to the public from Thursday until May 27, then moves to Fort Worth from July 1 to Oct. 29.

Auping said he was eager to bring the show to the United States, where the fleshiness of Freud’s paintings initially came as a shock.

“We have nothing like this in America,” Auping said. “We are the land of Photoshop. We are the land of sleek models. We are the land of no wrinkles.

“It disturbed our sense of abstraction and minimalism. (But) over the years we came to embrace Freud.”

British society embraced him, too. Freud gained the ultimate sign of respectability in 2000 when he painted Queen Elizabeth II _ fully clothed. The naturalistic portrait, dubbed daring by some and disrespectful by others, is not on display here.

But the show does have royal approval. The Duchess of Cambridge, wife of Prince William, is a patron of the National Portrait Gallery and attended the show later on Wednesday _ greeting Freud’s daughters Bella and Esther Freud.

As she visited, the gallery confirmed the duchess _ formerly Kate Middleton _ will pose for a portrait in the near future, though no decision has been made on which artist will be commissioned.

Tilley said she wasn’t worried the duchess would be put off the Freud exhibition by all the flesh on display _ a roomful of it Tilley’s.

“I’m not embarrassed about her seeing me naked _ I’m a human being,” Tilley said. “I may not be the most gorgeous one under the sun but that’s what I am.”

It's art, you know. Poor woman, I’m sure she’s seen things before,” she said.

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Online:

National Portrait Gallery: http://www.npg.org.uk/

Jill Lawless can be reached at: http://twitter.com/JillLawless