Prince George plays on the beach in fun birthday photo taken by mum Kate

Happy 9th birthday to the future King!

Prince George looks full of fun in this beautiful new portrait taken by the Duchess of Cambridge to mark his ninth birthday.

William and Kate's eldest son is pictured grinning broadly at the camera as he plays on a beach during a family holiday in the UK earlier this month.

PHOTOS: 17 of Prince George's cutest moments through the years

Wearing a simple pale blue polo shirt, he looks relaxed and a world away from some of his recent public appearances as he enjoys the long summer break.

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In the past couple of months, George has been seen wearing a suit and tie as he joined his parents for an official visit to Cardiff to mark the Queen's Platinum Jubilee and again in the royal box on Centre Court – despite soaring temperatures – as they watched the Men's Singles Final at Wimbledon.

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The Duchess of Cambridge photographed her son for his birthday

The third in line to the throne has increasingly been seen in public, mirroring his father Prince William's outings to Cardiff and Wimbledon at almost the same age.

George also appeared twice on the balcony of Buckingham Palace during the Jubilee celebrations as well as attending the Platinum Party at the Palace and the Platinum Jubilee Pageant.

George attended Wimbledon for the first time earlier this month

But as this sweet photograph by Kate shows, he still has plenty of time for carefree outdoor play away from the spotlight, especially during the long summer break from school.

The Duke and Duchess were spotted leaving Kensington Palace by helicopter with Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis – plus their pet dog Orla – after the children's summer term at Thomas's, Battersea ended on 8 July.

READ: Fascinating video of Prince George leaves royal fans divided

The Cambridges, minus Louis, travelled to Cardiff for the day for the Queen's Platinum Jubilee

The new image of George is the latest in a series of intimate portraits of the royal children taken by their mother the Duchess to document their milestones.

And as well as issuing official birthday photographs, Kate is known to bake all their birthday cakes herself, admitting in 2019: "I love making the cake. It's become a bit of a tradition that I stay up 'til midnight with ridiculous amounts of cake mix and icing and I make far too much. But I love it."

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