Princess Charlotte: new 'prim, professional' photograph released
New picture of royal baby and her brother released with 'Merry Christmas' wishes from the palace
A new photograph of Princess Charlotte has been released by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – this time she is pictured alongside both parents and her brother Prince George.
Kensington Palace released the image on Twitter this morning, with the message: "A new family photo – Merry Christmas from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte."
In the photo, the royal couple are pictured crouching outdoors among autumn leaves, with Prince George standing up and Princess Charlotte in the arms of her mother. George is dressed in his usual retro style, sporting a traditional patterned jumper, shorts, long socks and buckled boots, while his baby sister wears a simple smock and cardigan.
Previously released pictures have included a mixture of professionally posed shots and casual snaps of home life taken by the Duchess, a keen amateur photographer. The latest image is the work of photographer Chris Jeff, who told Sky News he "thoroughly enjoyed" his time with the family, warning that "you have to be sharp, as you don't have long when there are two young children involved".
Princess Charlotte has appeared in a handful of official pictures, including two photographs taken by the former Kate Middleton, released last month. In June, Prince George was also pictured holding his baby sister in his arms and giving her a kiss.
The official photographs of the royal children are said to be partly "an attempt to satisfy the intense interest in them and ward off the attraction of paparazzi snaps", according to Sky News. True to form, the latest photographic glimpse of the royal siblings quickly generated comment around the world. "It bears none of the hallmarks of the embarrassing Family Christmas portraits that do the rounds this time of year," Kate Aubusson noted in the Sydney Morning Herald, praising the "prim, professional" picture.
The latest family portrait comes as Kensington Palace announced that two-year-old Prince George will start at a nursery close to Anmer Hall, the Cambridges' home in Norfolk. He will attend the Westacre Montessori school for a few days a week, starting next month. The nursery said in a statement that they were looking forward to welcoming the young royal and specified that he would get the "same experience" as the other children. George is following in the footsteps of his father, who was the first heir to the throne to attend nursery school rather than be privately educated at home.
A new family photo - Merry Christmas from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte pic.twitter.com/8d472rlXFW
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) December 18, 2015
Princess Charlotte to celebrate first Christmas at Anmer Hall
The Duke of Cambridge has revealed that Princess Charlotte's first Christmas is unlikely to be a calm affair, due to a hyperactive Prince George.
Prince William predicted that the festive period could be "quite challenging" with a young baby and an excitable toddler - but said he was looking forward to it.
"If I get any sleep on Christmas Eve it'll be good, because George will be bouncing around like a rabbit," he told the Big Issue.
"[He] will be extremely bouncy this year because he's suddenly worked out what Christmas is all about," he added.
The Duke also revealed that the young family is planning on spending most of their first Christmas as a foursome at their family home in Norfolk, the Daily Telegraph reports.
They will attend the traditional Christmas Day church service at St Mary Magdalene Church with the rest of the Royal Family, but are then expected to return home to Anmer Hall rather than Sandringham House.
The Duke, who is a patron of the charity Centrepoint, was speaking to trainee journalist Sophia Kichou, whom he first met when she was homeless.
Prince William described his plans for the day. "We'll go to church as a family on Christmas Day, as we always do," he said.
"Then we'll watch George try to tackle his presents as he tries to unwrap them. It's a very different experience at Christmas, having a family of your own.
"It'd be nice if we got a white Christmas because we haven't had one in many years."
Last year, around 2,000 people gathered to see the royal family make the traditional walk from Sandringham House to Mary Magdalene Church. However, Prince George was left at Anmer Hall because of the cold weather.
Kate Middleton, who was pregnant with Princess Charlotte at the time, apologised and suggested that the crowds would have been able to hear the Prince from outside the church if they had brought him along.
Asked what his Christmas wish would be, Prince William said he hoped that those at the homeless shelter were "safe and secure" and that they "had some love in their lives".
"I know that sounds quite naive and romantic, but that would be the thing I ask for," said the Prince.
Prince William also spoke about visiting homeless hostels with his mother Princess Diana, where he was struck by the gulf between growing up in a palace and the struggles of those sleeping rough.
"That was powerful to see at a young age," he said. "In today's Western world, with all the advancements and privileges we have, the fact some people don't have a bed or a roof over their head is quite ridiculous."
Kate Middleton has been spotted Christmas shopping at Peter Jones in Chelsea. According to the Daily Telegraph, she was carrying an easy-to-wipe gingham table cloth.
"The Duchess of Cambridge appears to be taking every precaution to ensure that the mess created by sticky little fingers and can be swiftly cleaned away," says the newspaper.
It will also "prove useful as Princess Charlotte starts to tackle her first pureed foods".
The family has already received Christmas gifts from well-wishers, including a set of personalised dolls made by Bonnie & Pearl. Prince William was given the dolls while visiting the international charity Football for Peace in Birmingham.
Prince Charles was also given two ethically made teddy bears from a company called From Babies with Love, one for George and one for Charlotte, at a recent business summit.
Meanwhile, the Duchess of Cambridge's mother, Carole Middleton, has been offering advice to families celebrating their baby's first Christmas in her Baby London magazine column.
"Relax and enjoy baby's first Christmas," she writes. "They won't remember it, but you'll have fond memories."
Princess Charlotte: new photos show royal baby at Anmer Hall
Two official images of Princess Charlotte have been released, the first pictures of the royal baby made public since her christening in July. The photographs of the six-month-old princess were taken by her mother Kate Middleton and released by Kensington Palace on Sunday.
"The Duke and Duchess hope everyone enjoys these new photos of Princess Charlotte as much as they do," the palace said in a tweet to its half a million followers. The pictures were seen as a thank you to the British public and media for allowing the two children to grow up away from the spotlight.
The Duchess of Cambridge, described by the Daily Telegraph as an "accomplished amateur photographer", took the pictures early in November at the family home, Anmer Hall in Norfolk.
The first official photographs of Princess Charlotte, released in June, were also captured by the Duchess.
The Telegraph points out that Charlotte now has a "full head of hair" and is able to sit up, while the Daily Mail thinks she has the same "twinkling blue eyes" as her father Prince William.
Hello magazine was quick to identify the brands seen in the picture: a patterned Liberty dress, pale-pink tights from Amaia Kids and a Fuddlewuddle Puppy from British company Jellycat.
Items of clothing worn by the Duchess and her two children have consistently generated huge demand across the world, with garments selling out shortly after they have appeared in official royal pictures.
Speaking about her children at a recent charity event, Kate said that Charlotte and two-year-old George were "doing really well". She revealed that George loves helicopters and is looking forward to the festive season.
"George will be starting to talk about Christmas soon," she said. "Charlotte is getting bigger and getting on well with her noisy big brother."
Why Princess Charlotte is already worth £3 billion
Princess Charlotte may only be five months old, but no-one can accuse the young princess of failing to pay her way. According to business valuation agency Brand Finance, the newest addition to the royal family is worth a staggering £3.2bn – more than her big brother Prince George, whose net present value was estimated to be £2.4bn.
"Prince George will be king one day, but his sister is where the money is," says CNN Money.
However, both youngsters will struggle to rival their mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, whose value is estimated to be nearly £4.8bn.
"The unofficial endorsement of Charlotte, George and their mother Kate, in particular, has a profound financial, effect running into millions annually," said David Haigh, chief executive of Brand Finance, told IB Times.
Despite having appeared in public on only two occasions since her birth, much of the value that Princess Charlotte brings to the economy comes from the boost her outfits have given to the nation's fashion retailers.
Items of clothing worn by both the young royals have consistently generated massive demand across the world. From the moment she first appeared the world outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in May this year, Charlotte has been a trend-setter. The Nottingham firm that produced the £68 shawl in which she left the hospital spoke of a "dramatic increase in demand" after images of the infant wearing the garment were beamed around the world.
Similarly, the manufacturer behind the glamorous vintage pram, which brought Charlotte to her christening, told CNN that it had been "inundated with messages, emails and calls" in the aftermath of the ceremony.
As the princess grows older and appears in a wider variety of outfits, there is good reason to believe that the "Charlotte effect" is sure to be felt even more keenly in the retail industry. Prince George's outfits, credited with bringing retro styles back into vogue, have already stirred demand – and his sister's are likely to do the same.
Princess Charlotte's first holiday: where is she going?
Princess Charlotte will enjoy her first foreign holiday in November, it has been revealed, when she and the family will be jetting off to the isle of Mustique.
The last time Prince William and Kate Middleton were on holiday together, they left the then six month-old Prince George in the care of his maternal grandparents. This time around, the Daily Mail reports they will be taking both George and Charlotte along with them, as well as Kate's mother Carole and sister Pippa.
The Caribbean island is a favourite destination for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who had enjoyed a "babymoon" holiday shortly before George's birth in 2013. The Middletons have holidayed on the island, part of St Vincent and the Grenadines, on a multiple occasions.
During their November trip, when temperatures are set to reach around 30 degrees Celsius, Princess Charlotte and the family will be keeping cool in a private villa. The Daily Star claims that the royals and their guests will be staying at the £13,000-a-week Aurora House. The luxury accommodation boasts a 45ft swimming pool, private sun deck and a staff of five including a butler and housekeeper.
So what will the royals be up to on holiday? One draw for the Cambridges is that Mustique is a private island, consisting of around 100 holidays villas and a luxury hotel, enabling the pair to let their hair down in a way that is impossible practically anywhere else. A guest who met the royal couple at a cocktail party on the island told Hello magazine that William and Kate were dressed in normal tourist clothing and acted "just like everybody else".
On previous trips, the Cambridges have enjoyed scuba diving, snorkelling and even tried their hands at deep shark dives. With both children in tow, however, it is likely they will stick to some of their less intense hobbies, such as tennis and swimming.
Princess Charlotte: perfect portraits or PR nonsense?
The official photographs of Princess Charlotte's christening have won praise from much of the world's media – but one critic has denounced them as "fake PR nonsense".
Kensington Palace released four official portraits of the royal family celebrating in Norfolk on Sunday. They were captured by Mario Testino, the Peruvian fashion photographer who was famously chosen by Princess Diana to photograph her for Vanity Fair in 1997.
One image shows the royal family and the Middletons at Sandringham House, the Queen's private residence, with three generations of royal successors: Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George.
Another photograph shows Kate Middleton, Prince William and their two children posing in the Sandringham House garden. Vanity Fair describes it as the "perfect portrait", while the Daily Express claims it shows Britain's "happiest family".
Testino's greatest achievement is undoubtedly to have made Prince George laugh, says the Daily Telegraph, referring to a third father and son image. "The famously grumpy toddler has never given such a toothy grin for an official picture, but showed a smile usually only seen by his family as he was photographed being held by the Duke of Cambridge," says the newspaper.
The fourth Testino shot, showing Kate Middleton holding Princess Charlotte, featured on today's Daily Mail front page, with the caption: "Isn't she scrumptious?"
But Jonathan Jones at The Guardian has denounced the portraits as a "sickly sweet lie".
He concedes that Kate Middleton and Prince William have "plenty to smile about", but says "Testino, the world's most horrible flatterer of wealth and status, makes every smile look phoney".
The Cambridges have been robbed of true personality by Testino's "faux-honest" glamour shot, says Jones. "This is fake PR nonsense… We – and the royals – deserve better."
Jones claims the Cambridges have become too valuable to royal publicity to be allowed to be real. "They are turning into living lies – the impossibly perfect people with their impossibly perfect children," he says. "Please, let them be human."
Princess Charlotte's Norland nanny baffles Australian press
Princess Charlotte's christening was the event of the month for royal-watchers, attracting attention around the Commonwealth and beyond. Newspapers and magazines across the world featured pictures of the three-month-old Princess, as well as the scene-stealing Prince George and the "elegant" Duchess of Cambridge.
But the Australian media were less impressed by the outfit worn by the children's nanny, Maria Borallo, whose old-fashioned hemlines and starched collars were met with derision. "If the Duchess of Cambridge can be a global fashion icon why can't the nanny entrusted with helping her raise Prince George and baby Charlotte?" asked the Australian Daily Telegraph.
Borallo was photographed alongside the royals outside St Mary Magdalene Church, wearing a distinctive beige gown, white gloves and bowler hat bearing the 'N' of Norland College, the elite nanny training institute of which Spanish-born Borallo is a graduate.
The Telegraph went on to suggest that Borallo's peculiar attire appeared to be "propelling the christening back to the Edwardian period".
Equally baffled was the Sydney Morning Herald, which said the royal nanny "appeared to have come straight from her community theatre's production of Mary Poppins". The newspaper added that she resembled a "lukewarm latte picked up from a roadside fuel station".
Borallo's much-maligned uniform is the traditional apparel of the students at Norland College in Bath, which has been training top-drawer nannies since 1892. The brown and beige ensemble is still worn by trainees at lectures and formal events, although their day-to-day practical uniform consists of navy blue trousers and jumper.
The Norland website specifies that graduates of the school are not required to wear the formal uniform, "unless the family specifically wants them to". This suggests that Borallo continues to don the famous Norland attire at the behest of the Cambridges.
Borallo, 44, was chosen from a shortlist of Norland graduates interviewed by the Duke and Duchess when they were hunting for a nanny for Prince George, and she has been working for the couple since March 2014, according to the Daily Mail. Her experience working with other high-profile families is said to have clinched her the role, which the Daily Express suggests pays in the region of £38,000 per year.
What does it take to be a Norland Nanny?
The Norland Institute (now College) was founded in 1892 by Emily Ward in response to a demand for properly trained nannies rather than the housemaids or governesses usually in charge of well-off children.
Students at the college train for three years to receive the prized Norland Diploma, part of a full BA in early years development. The course combines theory and practice of childcare, and includes placements in nurseries, schools or families. By the end of the course, students will have mastered the correct techniques for everything from bathing and changing an infant to sewing and party planning.
Working for some of the world's richest and most prominent families also means being prepared for danger. Whether it's intrusive paparazzi or the threat of kidnapping, Norland nannies must be ready to protect their charges in any situation. This means that students are trained in taekwondo, as well as "evasive driving" to escape unwanted media attention. As far as anyone knows, Borallo has not yet been called on to use either of these skills, but her press-dodging credentials may come in handy as the young royals grow older and appear in public more frequently.