How Kate Middleton’s flair for photography gave the Royal Family some of their most heartwarming portraits – and they’re a far cry from the formal pictures once

How Kate Middleton’s flair for photography gave the Royal Family some of their most heartwarming portraits – and they’re a far cry from the formal pictures once

The Princess of Wales has had a passion for photography since her student days – and her flair for documentary-style images has resonated with royal fans who get an intimate insight into her and Prince William’s young family. 

Today, Kate released a brand new picture to mark her husband’s 42nd birthday, showing the heir to the throne’s playful side as he jumps for joy with his children on a beach in Norfolk.

It’s the latest in a series of sweet candids the mother-of-three has shared on social media – which are a world away from the stuffy and posed pictures we’ve seen from royals in years gone by.

Just last week, a photo released on Father’s Day showed Prince George, 10, Princess Charlotte, nine, and Prince Louis, six, on a beach trip alongside their dad, posing with their backs to the camera as they looked out to sea on the coast, near their Anmer Hall home.

Elsewhere, Kate has also been known to capture her children’s birthday portraits – which let their personalities shine through – as well as a heartwarming image of the late Queen Elizabeth and her grandkids.

How Kate Middleton’s flair for photography gave the Royal Family some of their most heartwarming portraits – and they’re a far cry from the formal pictures once

Kate Middleton has released a brand new photograph today to mark her husband’s 42nd birthday

Despite the formal set up, Prince William (second right) and Prince Harry (far right) still manage to bring some life to old photographs with their cheeky expressions

Despite the formal set up, Prince William (second right) and Prince Harry (far right) still manage to bring some life to old photographs with their cheeky expressions

She is particularly adept at capturing her family in natural poses, letting their personalities shine through.

The photo album looked very different only a few decades ago, when King Charles and the late Princess Diana were releasing much more formal, posed images. 

The difference between the easy grins and smiles in Kate’s images – over the at-times stiff silhouettes captured of her husband’s parents when he was a baby – are stark.

Charles and Diana look more formal – and less natural – in archive shots, and don’t signal the same warmth evident in Kate’s photos.

In photographs taken after Princess Diana left the Lindo Wing in London with a newborn Prince William, the couple are dressed in formal outfits – with Charles donning a suit for the occasion.

Compared to Prince William’s laid-back shorts and baseball cap, Charles and Diana’s ensembles look decidedly less down to earth.

In a 1984 portrait taken to mark Prince Harry’s christening, the couple are in more ceremonial attire again, posing for the camera with their two children.

Proving just how difficult it is to get children to pose for a serious photo, William’s pointing at the camera is arguably the most natural element of the shot. 

The Princess of Wales proved her photography skills once again with a touching image of Prince William (centre) with Prince George ( far right), Princess Charlotte ( left), and Prince Louis (right), for Father's Day

The Princess of Wales proved her photography skills once again with a touching image of Prince William (centre) with Prince George ( far right), Princess Charlotte ( left), and Prince Louis (right), for Father’s Day

The Princess has a real talent for capturing candid family moments . Pictured, William and the children in 2020

The Princess has a real talent for capturing candid family moments . Pictured, William and the children in 2020

Even posed photographs have a laid-back feel to them, with Princess Charlotte (left) and Prince George (right) looking away from the camera adoringly at her father and Prince Louis pulling a cheeky face

Even posed photographs have a laid-back feel to them, with Princess Charlotte (left) and Prince George (right) looking away from the camera adoringly at her father and Prince Louis pulling a cheeky face

Official photographs haver changed with the times, with this 1984 photograph taken of Prince William (far right) Prince Charles (right), Princess Diana (left) to mark Prince Harry's Christening (far left) far more formal and forced

Official photographs haver changed with the times, with this 1984 photograph taken of Prince William (far right) Prince Charles (right), Princess Diana (left) to mark Prince Harry’s Christening (far left) far more formal and forced

Prince Charles (right) is often seen wearing a suit when spending time with his children Prince William (left) and Prince Harry

Prince Charles (right) is often seen wearing a suit when spending time with his children Prince William (left) and Prince Harry

It’s however promising to see that Kate is still keen to share her photography with the world with this latest release, after she was subjected to criticism following the Mother’s Day photo-editing furore.

After concerns from photo agencies were publicly aired, the Princess issued a statement on X  and Instagram admitting she ‘edited’ the image.

Kate added that she does ‘occasionally experiment’ as an ‘amateur photographer’ and apologised for ‘any confusion’ the image caused.

The family photo was the first picture of the Princess of Wales, 42, to appear since her abdominal surgery earlier in the year. 

Despite the blip, Kate has captured countless touching images of her children and husband over the years – and shared many of these with the world through emotive social media posts. 

Kate has a longstanding passion for photography, despite a photo editing drama that saw six global picture agencies withdraw the family's official Mother's Day photo (pictured) over fears it had been 'manipulated'

Kate has a longstanding passion for photography, despite a photo editing drama that saw six global picture agencies withdraw the family’s official Mother’s Day photo (pictured) over fears it had been ‘manipulated’ 

It's promising to see that the Princess of Wales is still keen to share her touching photographs with the world. Pictured in 2011

It’s promising to see that the Princess of Wales is still keen to share her touching photographs with the world. Pictured in 2011

Prince George, now ten, is naturally a firm fixture on Kate’s camera roll, with his mother marking milestones such as his first day at nursery in Norfolk, and supporting the England squad in a team shirt in 2019. 

With the Royal Family moving towards a more relatable direction, it’s no surprise they’ve ditched the formal dress for something more low-key.

And Kate’s photography talents only add to this new image of the monarchy.

On George’s seventh birthday, two photographs were released, taken in July 2020 during lockdown at their then Norfolk home, Anmer Hall, while his eighth birthday saw him perched on the bonnet of a Land Rover Defender.

The most recent snaps of the young Prince were on his ninth birthday and showed the future King posing in a polo-style top in a beach setting. 

Princess Charlotte’s birth also gave Kate the opportunity to practice snapping her two children together for the first time – which is no mean feat when toddlers are so easily distracted. 

2016: Prince George, dressed in a navy quilted jacket and light blue rucksack, grinned as he made his way into Westacre Montessori School near the family home, Anmer Hall in Norfolk

2016: Prince George, dressed in a navy quilted jacket and light blue rucksack, grinned as he made his way into Westacre Montessori School near the family home, Anmer Hall in Norfolk

Little lion! Prince George captured by Kate in an England football shirt to mark his sixth birthday in 2019

Gap-toothed grin! Playful George can be seen belly laughing in official portraits released by Kensington Palace ahead of his sixth birthday in 2019

Little lion! Prince George captured by Kate in an England football shirt to mark his sixth birthday in 2019

Seven! A smiling Prince George pictured celebrating his seventh birthday during lockdown in 2021

Seven! A smiling Prince George pictured celebrating his seventh birthday during lockdown in 2021

A second image taken in 2020 showed the heir-to-the-throne beaming at his mother the Duchess of Cambridge behind the camera as she snaps a shot

A second image taken in 2020 showed the heir-to-the-throne beaming at his mother the Duchess of Cambridge behind the camera as she snaps a shot 

Kate behind the camera: The royal has taken several photos of her eldest son and released them as official birthday images, including the young royal looking tousle-haired and laughing on his eighth birthday in 2021

Prince George smiling in an official photograph released to celebrate his ninth birthday in 2022

Kate behind the camera: The royal has taken several photos of her eldest son and released them as official birthday images, including the young royal looking tousle-haired and laughing on his eighth birthday in 2021 and, pictured on a beach at the age of nine in July 2022

And angelic looking George was clearly up to the challenge though, cradling his baby sister while wearing an adorable button-up shirt. 

Princess Charlotte’s development from a bright-eyed toddler to a headstrong young woman has also been documented on Kate’s camera roll. 

In earlier pictures we see Charlotte looking adorable in a lemon cardigan, as well as holding the family dog for a portrait to mark her seventh birthday. 

 Later we see Charlotte posing with the family dog and a cheeky grin aged seven. 

2015: An early photo of Prince George and his new sister Princess Charlotte, taken by the then Duchess at Anmer Hall in Norfolk

Princess Charlotte pictured at Anmer Hall in November 2015

2015: An early photo of Prince George and his new sister Princess Charlotte, taken by the then Duchess at Anmer Hall in Norfolk. Right: Princess Charlotte pictured at Anmer Hall in November 2015

Strolling along! Princess Charlotte pushing wooden blocks in a trolley in an image published in 2016

Strolling along! Princess Charlotte pushing wooden blocks in a trolley in an image published in 2016

When Princess Charlotte celebrated her second birthday in 2017, an image of the young royal wearing an adorable yellow cardigan with sheep on it was released by William and Kate

When Princess Charlotte celebrated her second birthday in 2017, an image of the young royal wearing an adorable yellow cardigan with sheep on it was released by William and Kate

2018: Princess Charlotte, in smart red attire, taken by her mother at Kensington Palace shortly before the princess left for her first day of nursery at the Willcocks Nursery School

2018: Princess Charlotte, in smart red attire, taken by her mother at Kensington Palace shortly before the princess left for her first day of nursery at the Willcocks Nursery School

The big four! Princess Charlotte captured in May 2019 as the family celebrated her fourth birthday

The big four! Princess Charlotte captured in May 2019 as the family celebrated her fourth birthday

May 2020: Princess Charlotte in a portrait taken to mark her fifth birthday

May 2021: Princess Charlotte in a portrait taken by her mother Kate Middleton to mark her sixth birthday

Five and six: Previous photos taken by the then Duchess of Cambridge Princess Charlotte’s fifth and six birthdays in May 2020 and May 2021

This image of Princess Charlotte, taken at the Wales' Norfolk home Anmer Hall, was shared to mark the youngster turning seven in 2022

This image of Princess Charlotte, taken at the Wales’ Norfolk home Anmer Hall, was shared to mark the youngster turning seven in 2022

Great being eight: Charlotte looking ever more grown up in this photo taken by her mother to mark her eighth birthday last year

Great being eight: Charlotte looking ever more grown up in this photo taken by her mother to mark her eighth birthday last year

And of course, Prince Louis, the youngest Wales child has been the subject of a number of sweet photographs, with his cheeky personality shining through more and more as he gets older. 

The Princess of Wales has also captured some early moments between Charlotte and Louis, as well as the young Prince as a tiny baby. 

More recently, Prince Louis has been photographed cycling to nursery on his bicycle – and in a group family photos with dad Prince William.  

In 2018, a rosy-cheeked Prince Louis was revealed to the world

Just days later another shot showing Princess Charlotte kissing her new brother was released

In 2018, a rosy-cheeked Prince Louis was revealed to the world, and just days later another shot showing Princess Charlotte kissing her new brother was released

Two-front teeth! Little Louis pictured in 2018 - in a variety of knitwear - to celebrate his first birthday

The cute pictures were taken in Norfolk at Amner Hall

Two-front teeth! Little Louis pictured in 2018 – in a variety of knitwear – to celebrate his first birthday. The cute pictures were taken in Norfolk at Amner Hall

Prince Louis - with techincolour hands - pictured grinning a year on at nursery on his second birthday

Prince Louis – with techincolour hands – pictured grinning a year on at nursery on his second birthday

A happy Louis pictured cycling into his first day of nursery at the Willcocks Nursery School on April 21, 2021

A happy Louis pictured cycling into his first day of nursery at the Willcocks Nursery School on April 21, 2021

FAMILY PORTRAITS 

This image, released in December 2020 saw Kate behind the camera once again, this time snapping her brood on a swing; the image was taken during the summer months that year

This image, released in December 2020 saw Kate behind the camera once again, this time snapping her brood on a swing; the image was taken during the summer months that year

The intimate family portraits saw the Prince and his three children rolling around on the grass. For Father's Day 2020, William released a picture of the children clambering on his back on the grass

The intimate family portraits saw the Prince and his three children rolling around on the grass. For Father’s Day 2020, William released a picture of the children clambering on his back on the grass

The rest of the royal family also benefit from Kate’s photography talents, with the Princess capturing a beautiful picture of her father-in-law Charles and Prince Louis when he was just two years old.

Kate was also given the honour of photographing Queen Camilla on her 75th birthday, with an image released showing the Queen in a summer setting with a basket of cut flowers, wearing a pretty blue dress.

The Princess of Wales also took moving photographs of Prince Philip and great-granddaughter Mia Tindall sharing some lunch before he passed away in 2021, as well as a sweet moment between the late Duke of Edinburgh and Prince George enjoying a carriage ride.

Father and son: This 2018 snap was released to mark both Father's day and the 38th birthday of the then Duke of Cambridge

Father and son: This 2018 snap was released to mark both Father’s day and the 38th birthday of the then Duke of Cambridge

Clarence House wished Prince Louis a happy second birthday with this photo showing hugs from his grandfather

Clarence House wished Prince Louis a happy second birthday with this photo showing hugs from his grandfather

In July 2022, Queen Camilla, then the Duchess of Cornwall, asked Kate Middleton to photograph to mark her 75th birthday and Country Life magazine's 125th anniversary

In July 2022, Queen Camilla, then the Duchess of Cornwall, asked Kate Middleton to photograph to mark her 75th birthday and Country Life magazine’s 125th anniversary

Prince Philip pictured enjoying a meal with Mia Tindall in a photograph taken by the Princess of Wales

Prince Philip pictured enjoying a meal with Mia Tindall in a photograph taken by the Princess of Wales

Hitching a ride with great grandpa! A younger Prince George pictured bonding with the late Prince Philip

Hitching a ride with great grandpa! A younger Prince George pictured bonding with the late Prince Philip

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