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Kate’s new photo of Louis released to celebrate prince’s sixth birthday

Prince Louis is six (Prince and Princess of Wales/Kensington Palace/PA)
Prince Louis is six (Prince and Princess of Wales/Kensington Palace/PA)

A new photograph of Prince Louis taken by the Princess of Wales has been released by Kensington Palace to mark his sixth birthday.

The unedited close-up image, showing Louis grinning at the camera as he lies barefoot on a blanket on the grass, was taken in the last few days at Windsor by Kate, who announced last month that she is undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with cancer.

It was posted on Kensington Palace’s social media accounts, some six weeks after the furore surrounding the Mother’s Day portrait which the princess admitted editing.

William and Kate thanked royal fans for the birthday messages they received for their youngest child.

The post read: “Happy 6th Birthday, Prince Louis! Thank you for all the kind wishes today.”

The image was followed by a camera emoji and attributed to the Princess of Wales.

The Wales family have had a challenging start to the year, with the princess’s major abdominal surgery, cancer diagnosis and treatment.

The release of the portrait marks a change in the way William and Kate usually issue images for their children’s birthdays.

It was posted straight to social media on Louis’ actual birthday on Tuesday, rather than under embargo to the press the day before, as was the established pattern William and Kate have followed each year for all three of their children since they were born.

It is understood to be due to the unprecedented time the family is experiencing.

Princess of Wales cancer announcement
The Princess of Wales recording her message about her diagnosis (BBC Studios/PA)

William and Kate are said to be cognisant of the fact that they have asked for privacy during the princess’s recovery, but wanted to share the photograph on social media as a way to thank those who have sent birthday wishes.

The same process is expected to be followed for Princess Charlotte’s birthday in May.

Kate issued a public apology last month when an image William took of the princess with Prince George, Charlotte and Louis was found to have been digitally altered.

The family Mother’s Day portrait – the first official one showing Kate since her surgery – was withdrawn by picture agencies over concerns it had been manipulated after discrepancies were spotted in the photograph.

It fuelled the escalating conspiracy theories online over Kate’s health and her whereabouts.

The princess took the blame and said sorry for the confusion with a statement saying she had been experimenting with editing.

Less than two weeks later, she issued an emotional video message to the nation, announcing she was undergoing chemotherapy after post-op tests found cancer had been present.

William and Kate took the time to sensitively share the princess’s diagnosis with their children ahead of the Easter holidays, giving them time to process the information.

Louis was last seen in public on Christmas Day when the royal family made their traditional festive appearance on the King’s Sandringham Estate to walk to church.

He was pictured holding hands with Zara and Mike Tindall’s eldest daughter Mia on one side and grasping his father’s fingers with his other hand.

Princess of Wales 42nd birthday
The Princess of Wales, Princess Charlotte, Prince George, the Prince of Wales, Prince Louis and Mia Tindall attending the Christmas Day morning church service at St Mary Magdalene Church (Joe Giddens/PA)

Earlier that month the young prince joined his older brother George, 10, and eight-year-old sister Charlotte at the annual Westminster Abbey carol concert staged by their mother.

And a few weeks before the festive event, Louis and his siblings were taken volunteering by Kate, visiting the Baby Bank in Holyport near Maidenhead and getting stuck in, sifting through donated goods.

Review of the Year 2023
Louis holds his nose as he travels with George (left) and Charlotte in a carriage during the Trooping the Colour ceremony (Aaron Chown/PA)

Other notable appearances for Louis during the past 12 months include his balcony appearance with the royal family at the conclusion of Trooping the Colour last June.

The young prince stole the show when he seemed to pretend to ride a motorcycle or bike with his arms outstretched and covered his ears as planes roared overhead during the fly-past.

And when he travelled in a carriage with his siblings and mother, Louis held his nose to possibly ward off the smell of horse manure from the many military mounts.

Together at Christmas Carol Service
Louis blows out a candle during the Westminster Abbey carol service staged by Kate (Aaron Chown/PA)

In July, William and Kate’s children got the chance to tour a C-17 aircraft during a visit to the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford, Gloucestershire.

Louis goes to Lambrook School in Berkshire with his brother and sister and has recently returned to the classroom after the Easter break.

It is likely a family birthday celebration, perhaps involving the prince’s grandparents, Carole and Michael Middleton, will be held after the youngster’s school day is over.

Royal Baby
Prince Louis outside the Lindo Wing on the day he was born (Dominic Lipinski/PA

William and Kate’s youngest child is fourth in line to the throne and was born on St George’s Day, April 23, 2018, at the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, weighing 8lb 7oz.

He was christened Louis Arthur Charles at 11 weeks old, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, in the Chapel Royal, St James’s Palace, in front of friends and family.