Giggling uncontrollably, three young siblings pile on to their beaming dad in joyous horseplay.
The gorgeous photograph is the latest to be taken by the Duchess of Cambridge, and has been released to mark Father’s Day and William’s 38th birthday, both of which fall today.
It clearly shows the playful, loving bond between the family, and how the Duke is revelling in the role that has been the making of him – fatherhood.
Another new image – on our front page – reinforces that, with William cuddling two-year-old Louis on his knee while Princess Charlotte, five, and Prince George, six, lark around them. The swing they are sitting on has significance for Father’s Day, too, as it was a wedding present from Prince Charles.
The photograph shows the three siblings giggling uncontrollably and piling on to a beaming Prince William
The happy normality, away from the trappings and travails of Royalty, is reflected in the high-street clothes they wear. Charlotte sports a pair of £10 John Lewis dungarees with a nautical striped T-shirt and rose-pink £24.99 Igor canvas shoes, also from John Lewis. Blond Louis wears a £4.99 Gap polo bodysuit and blue shorts, while George sports a £5.99 khaki H&M T-shirt.
Kate, a keen and talented photographer, took these delightful pictures on Friday in the grounds of their Norfolk country home, Anmer Hall, and they demonstrate the fruits of William’s determination that his children would have what he never did: a secure, happy and rural childhood with both parents hands-on and putting their offspring first.
Kate, 38, enjoyed an idyllic Berkshire countryside upbringing, growing up in the close-knit Middleton family with supportive parents and sporty younger siblings Pippa and James, who all enjoyed spending time together.
William’s experience was famously fractured – a workaholic father he rarely saw, corrosive fighting between his warring parents and ultimately the loss of his mother Diana when he was 15.
So it is little surprise that the Duke has put the happiness of his children above everything else: the job of being a parent, his No 1 priority.
Royal engagements, even last year’s tour to Pakistan, are arranged around the school run and the children’s bedtimes. William makes every effort to pick up George and Charlotte from school if Kate drops them off.
And although the Duke and Duchess got back to public work last week to show Britain was open for business again – Kate visiting a local garden centre and William a bakery – the couple have relished the upsides of lockdown. No foreign tours, no away days, no business of state has meant the Cambridges have been able to spend a huge amount of time with their young brood.
Kate, a keen and talented photographer, took these delightful pictures on Friday in the grounds of their Norfolk country home, Anmer Hall
Despite the challenges of home-schooling, William and Kate have decided not to send Charlotte back to classes at Thomas’s Battersea in South London quite yet. Her reception year went back a couple of weeks ago, but they decided to stay in Norfolk and keep all three children together rather than return to London. For the truth is that they are having too much fun at home.
William has managed to keep up his work through numerous Zoom calls to charities, volunteers and carers across the UK, and both husband and wife have jollied the nation’s mood through dark and difficult times.
Once the laptop is closed, William has enjoyed helping George with his homework, painting with Louis and chasing Charlotte round the garden – the formative childhood experiences he never had. The outdoor life is all. Even in the rain.
Pitching tents, camping outside, growing tomatoes and peas from seeds and watching their sunflowers grow has been the order of the day. Lazy afternoons can be spent at sea – in a small boat in the calm waters off the Norfolk coast, or enjoying the seaside at a beach hut on a local stretch of golden sand where they can run with Lupo the dog.
At other times, the Anmer Hall kitchen has been an ‘explosion of flour and chocolate’ while the family bake cakes and biscuits.
Here William can be the father he has always wanted to be. Is it any wonder they want to stay?