Princess Charlotte, the 11-month-old daughter of Their Royal Highnesses the Duke & Duchess of Cambridge, was featured sitting on the lap of her paternal grandmother, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, in an adorable family portrait of the monarch with the youngest members of the British royal family that was released on Wednesday — the day before she celebrates her 90th birthday. People reports that the portrait was taken by legendary photographer Annie Leibovitz on March 28.
Annie Leibovitz’s portrait includes the queen’s youngest grandchildren, Prince Edward’s children Lady Louise, 12, and James, Viscount Severn, 8. The rest of the children in the portrait, including Princess Charlotte, are the queen’s great-grandchildren: Princess Charlotte’s older brother, 2-year-old Prince George, and Princess Anne’s three grandchildren, Savannah Phillips, 5; Isla Phillips, 4; and Mia Tindall, 2. The Phillips girls are the daughters of Princess Anne’s son Peter Phillips, and Mia Tindall is the daughter of Princess Anne’s daughter Zara Tindall, who is married to retired rugby player Mike Tindall.
Princess Charlotte, who now has dark hair like her mother, the Duchess of Cambridge (formerly Kate Middleton), is holding a small toy horse in the photo. Mia Tindall is holding the queen’s handbag, which she picked up without having been asked to do so, according to an anonymous source who spoke to People.
The Queen surrounded by her two youngest grandchildren and her five great-grandchildren #Queenat90 This is the first in a series of official photographs released today to mark The Queen's 90th birthday. They were taken at Windsor Castle just after Easter by renowned portrait photographer Annie Leibovitz. From left: James, Viscount Severn, Lady Louise, Mia Tindell, Queen Elizabeth, Princess Charlotte, Savannah Phillips, Prince George and Isla Phillips.
Princess Charlotte’s portrait was taken along with her cousins as part of the celebration of the monarch’s 90th birthday, which is today, April 21. The United Kingdom usually selects a Saturday in early to mid-June to officially celebrate the monarch’s birthday — this was first decreed by King Edward VII, who reigned from 1901 to 1910, so that there would be a better chance of good weather on the day. The monarch’s birthday is celebrated on this June Saturday with a patriotic ceremony called Trooping the Colour, which includes the Queen’s birthday parade, featuring 14,000 soldiers, 200 horses, and 400 musicians.
Princess Charlotte is probably too young to be a public headliner during the 2016 Trooping the Colour ceremony, but Prince George made an appearance last year when his father, who is also known as Prince William, held him as the royal family stood with Queen Elizabeth II to watch the Royal Air Force do a fly-past at the end of the celebration. Prince William also made his first Trooping the Colour appearance at the age of 2, and also in the arms of his father, Charles, the Prince of Wales.
Princess Charlotte and Prince George and their little cousins are featured in one of three official portraits released on Wednesday. Annie Leibovitz also took the other two portraits, one of which spotlights Queen Elizabeth II on a set of stone steps on the East Terrace of Windsor Castle, her weekend residence, with her famous and beloved corgis. There are four corgis pictured, and according to Buckingham Palace, their names are Willow, Vulcan, Candy, and Holly.
Annie Leibovitz’s third portrait features Queen Elizabeth II with her only daughter, Her Royal Highness Princess Anne, who is the seventh Princess Royal. Princess Anne is the second child of Queen Elizabeth II and her consort, His Royal Highness Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh. The Prince of Wales is her older brother. Annie Leibovitz’s portrait of the queen with the Princess Royal was taken in the White Drawing Room in Windsor Castle.
Annie Leibovitz’s portrait with the queen’s grandchildren and great-grandchildren marks the first time the public has seen Princess Charlotte since photos were released from the Cambridges’ ski trip in March, but it’s the second official photo of Prince George to be released this week. Prince George was featured on a Royal Mail postage stamp sheet commemorating the queen’s 90th birthday as well, in a photo of the queen with the next three family members who are in direct line to the throne — the Prince of Wales, Prince William, and Prince George.
According to The Guardian, Queen Elizabeth II is the United Kingdom’s first nonagenarian monarch as of today, April 21. For her part, Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge will celebrate her first birthday on May 2, 2016. Prince George will be 3 years old on July 22.
[Image courtesy of Chris Jackson/Getty Images]