Princess Kate continues birthday tradition as Prince Louis turns 6

Princess of Wales reveals she is being treated for cancer

Source: Kensington Palace

The Prince and Princess of Wales have shared a charming photo of Prince Louis on his sixth birthday – the first picture they have released since the photo manipulation debacle in March.

William and Kate thanked the public for messages sent to mark the sixth birthday of their youngest child.

The natural photo is a close-up image of the beaming young prince, who sports a missing bottom tooth.

Kate was credited with taking the picture in Windsor, where the family lives.

“Happy 6th Birthday, Prince Louis! Thank you for all the kind wishes today,” the couple’s office Kensington Palace said on social media platform X.

A royal source told CNN the picture was unedited. CNN also conducted its own analysis and confirmed there were no discrepancies or signs it had been manipulated.

Louis is the youngest of the royal couple’s three children, with George, aged 10, and Charlotte due to celebrate her ninth birthday in May.

Kensington Palace has for some years released photographs taken by Kate, a keen amateur photographer, to mark birthdays and other family occasions.

However, a picture issued on UK Mother’s Day in March was withdrawn by news agencies because it had been edited, something for which Kate later apologised.

That occurred shortly before the princess revealed she was having preventative chemotherapy after tests after her abdominal surgery in January revealed that cancer had been present.

Heir to the throne William has only just returned to official duties since that announcement. Kate, who has not been seen in public since the royal family went to church at Sandringham on Christmas Day, will return to the spotlight only when her medical team says she is well enough to do so.

kate wales photo

It is the first Wales’ family photo since this controversial snap released for Britain’s Mothers’ Day. Photo: Kensington Palace

Kate’s special honour

Meanwhile, the King has given his “beloved daughter-in-law” a rare royal honour, bestowed for the first time in 107 years.

The Princess of Wales was honoured for her public service and support of the arts, Buckingham Palace has announced.

Future queen Kate was appointed Royal Companion of The Order of the Companions of Honour.

The decision by the King, who is also being treated for cancer, to suggest Kate for the honour will be seen as a major show of support for the princess amid her health challenges.

The prestigious appointment is a new one especially created for Kate, who is still absent from official duties. She is the first member of the royal family to be appointed a Royal Companion in the order’s 107-year history.

The King recommended the special honour for the princess, with appointees to the Companions of Honour in the gift of the Cabinet Office, the palace said.

Current members include Sir David Attenborough, Margaret Attwood, Dame Judi Dench, Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Elton John, and previously Professor Stephen Hawking and Sir Winston Churchill.

The Order of the Companions of Honour – limited to just 65 people at a time – was founded by King George V in 1917 to recognise outstanding achievements in the arts, sciences, medicine and public service.

The honour for Kate recognises her service as a member of the royal family and her support and interest in the arts.

She is patron of Britain’s National Portrait Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and the Royal Photographic Society.

The King has recognised Catherine’s royal service and support of the arts. Photo: Getty

A host of other announcements were revealed on St George’s Day, with the King appointing eldest son and heir Prince William as Great Master of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath.

The order was established by King George I in 1725, although it is believed to originally date back as far as the eighth century. It is awarded to members of the military or civil service for exemplary service.

The King was a previous Great Master from 1974-2022.

The monarch also appointed his wife the Queen as Grand Master and First or Principal Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. The role is the second most senior in the order, with the King sovereign of the order.

It was previously held by the King’s father Prince Philip, the late Duke of Edinburgh, and Charles’s great-grandmother Queen Mary, and the abdicated Edward VIII when he was still the Prince of Wales.

The Order of the British Empire, established by George V in 1917, is Britain’s largest order of chivalry, recognising outstanding contributions by individuals within their local communities or at a national level.

The King also made four new appointments, which are in his personal gift, to the Order of the Garter, including acclaimed composer Lord Lloyd Webber.

The theatre impresario, whose hit musicals include The Phantom Of The Opera, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, is now a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.

The other appointees are Lord Kakkar, emeritus professor of surgery at University College London; Air Chief Marshal the Lord Peach; and, as a Royal Lady Companion, the Duchess of Gloucester who is married to the late queen’s cousin the Duke of Gloucester.

Founded in 1348 by Edward III, the garter is awarded by the sovereign for outstanding public service and achievement.

Each year, royal knights and ladies of the Order of the Garter gather at St George’s Chapel in Windsor for a colourful procession and ceremony. Watched by crowds of onlookers, they walk down the hill to the chapel, dressed in blue velvet mantles, red velvet hoods, black velvet hats and white ostrich plumes.

-with AAP

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