Not for Mathilde of Belgium a stiff New Year portrait reflecting her royal role. When the crown princess and her husband Philippe gathered their three kids for a photo session the result was an informal snap shot, with pride of place going to their youngest child Emmanuel's toy monkey.
This time next year the blonde-haired cuties will number four, as Mathilde is expecting another child in the spring. And even with 11 grandchildren already in the clan, the excitement and family unity ahead of the birth is evident at their Laeken Castle home.
The royal consort, now over six months pregnant, smiles warmly in the images as she cuddles two-year-old Emmanuel to her. In another shot his siblings, Elisabeth, six, and four-year-old Gabriel, playfully envelope their dad in a group hug.