30 NOVEMBER 2007

Waving happily at the camera in one of the intimate shots is the Prince's one year-old- son Prince Hisahito. Though the little boy spent most of the walk being pushed in his buggy by his 12-year-old sister, Princess Kako, or carried by mum Princess Kiko, he has will no doubt soon be making efforts to explore the gardens on his own two feet, after his father revealed he's taken his first steps unaided.

"(He) has started walking by himself and has expanded his field of activities," says Prince Akishino of the youngster, who is third in line to the Chrysanthemum throne.

The little future emperor isn't the only one in the family maturing. The prince also revealed daughters Mako and 16-year-old Kako are growing into responsible adults - often helping take care of their little brother.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
Taken to mark the 42nd birthday of the Japanese Emperor's younger son, Prince Akishino, the happy pictures show him and (from left) his wife Kiko, and their children Princess Mako, Princess Kako and Prince Hisahito enjoying an informal stroll on a royal estatePhoto: © AFP
Photo: © Alphapress.com
The family snaps show just how much one-year-old Prince Akishino - who is third in line to the Chrysanthemum Throne - has grownPhoto: © AFP