Prince George celebrates his first birthday on Tuesday, capping a year in which the globetrotting infant became the trend-setting face of the modern royal family.
The young prince will mark the occasion with a low-key party at the family home at Kensington Palace, in keeping with the wishes of his parents William and Kate to keep their first-born out of the media glare.
The royals released a new photograph of George on Saturday showing how much he has grown.
Taken a few weeks ago during a visit to London’s Natural History Museum, the picture shows the prince walking confidently with his arms outstretched.
The photographer, John Stillwell, said the future king was “very lively and very sure of himself and confident – a very determined young boy”.
The cherubic royal has charmed onlookers during his few appearances in the public eye, particularly during a recent visit to Australia and New Zealand.
And the arrival of the third in line to the British throne has provided a feel-good factor that has given the royal family a major boost.
Influential magazine Vanity Fair celebrated George’s birthday by putting him on its front cover, calling him a “media star, style icon and PR triumph”, and the world’s “most eligible infant”.
This is high praise for a one-year-old, but perhaps inevitable given the popularity of William and Kate, the young, fun and relatively modern face of the royals.
With William’s brother Harry – who has joked that his nephew looks like a “young Winston Churchill” – they have helped rebuild the family’s image following its much-criticised response to the death of the princes’ mother Diana in a 1997 Paris car crash.
George will spend his birthday surrounded by close family and friends at home, in sharp contrast to William, who spent his first birthday at home with his nanny while parents Prince Charles and Diana toured Canada.
Royal expert Katie Nicholl sais guests to the birthday party will face the quandary of what to buy for the baby with everything, but there is one pleasure even a pampered prince will have to defer.
“One thing George will be receiving is a magnum of red wine from the Otago Valley in New Zealand, which the couple visited in April,” said Nicholl.
“It will be laid down in the cellar at Kensington Palace until he turns 18.”