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Royal fans left disappointed as Prince William and Princess Kate break with tradition on eve of Prince Louis' birthday

Prince Louis turns six on April 23

Ahad Sanwari - New York
Senior WriterNew York
Senior Editor
Content Managing Editor
Updated: April 23, 2024
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It has been a difficult few months for the royal family, especially with Princess Kate's cancer diagnosis and time away from the spotlight as she regains her strength, but they do have reason to celebrate.

Prince Louis, the youngest of Princess Kate and Prince William's three children, turned six years old on Tuesday 23 April, but in light of recent events, it seems his parents decided to stray from tradition.

Each year, on the eve of their kids' birthdays, and particularly all of Louis', the Prince and Princess would release a photo to commemorate the special day, which would serve as a reminder of how much the children have grown.

Louis' 5th birthday photo shared last year© AP
Louis' 5th birthday photo shared last year

On occasion, they would also share a second photo on the day of the birthday, thanking fans for their well wishes. However, Louis' birthday eve on Monday marked the first time that they hadn't shared a new photo of their son.

Instead, the Prince and Princess opted to release a photo shortly after noon on Tuesday, Louis' actual birthday, posting the photo on their social media channels instead of handing it out to press the night before.

Prince William and Kate released this new photo of Prince Louis to mark his 6th birthday
Kate took this new unedited photo of Prince Louis to mark his 6th birthday

Once again, Kate took the photo herself, and this time it was noted that the new portrait of Louis lying on a rug posing barefoot in the grass, and beaming at the camera, shot in Windsor a few days ago, was unedited.

Kate often takes the photos herself, a nod to her love for photography, but there was much furore when it was revealed that she had edited her Mother's Day family portrait in March. Therefore, it was not known whether the couple would choose to release a new portrait for Louis' birthday.

Why William and Kate didn't release a photo in advance

There has been a lot more for the Prince and Princess of Wales to deal with this year than in the past, with Kate's recovery, King Charles' health, and the backlash from the Mother's Day portrait.

Their break with tradition - to release a photo on the day instead of on the eve - is understood to be due to the unprecedented time the family is experiencing. 

William and Kate had asked for privacy while the Princess undergoes preventative treatment for cancer, however, they also wanted to share a photo to thank those who sent in well wishes for Louis.

charles and louis watching pageant © Getty Images
Louis is fourth-in-line to the throne

Kate's need for time, space, and privacy

Before the photo was eventually released on Tuesday, HELLO! spoke to royal expert Richard Fitzwilliams, who noted: "Royal fans will be disappointed by the lack of a photograph to mark Prince Louis's birthday. It is something of a royal tradition that royal birthdays are celebrated by the release of photographs. Catherine has taken a great many and they are always eagerly awaited.

"This is a shame because of the vexed issue of her Mothering Day photograph. The revelation that it was edited led to a highly embarrassing contretemps and the subsequent revelation that she was not only recovering from abdominal surgery but bravely fighting cancer.

"The video message when she revealed this was probably the bravest by any public figure about their health in Britain. The lack of a photograph on this occasion simply emphasises her need for time, space, and privacy which she expressed so movingly in the message and, after the misunderstandings of recent weeks, this should be universally understood."

mother and son using wheelbarrow © Getty Images
Prince Louis got to grips with a wheelbarrow as he helped his mother at the Big Help Out

Kate's tradition of baking a cake

Back in 2019, when appearing on A Berry Royal Christmas with Mary Berry, Kate shared that her favorite tradition was baking a cake to commemorate her kids' birthdays at the stroke of midnight.

"I love making the cake," the mum-of-three gushed. "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."

Prince Louis covers his ears as mum Princess Kate laughs as they watch the RAF flypast at Trooping the Colour in 2022© Getty
Prince Louis covers his ears as mum Princess Kate laughs as they watch the RAF flypast at Trooping the Colour in 2022

She also revealed that her other two children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte, were just as ready to get their hands messy and contribute to their baking adventures.

"I've done that with George and Charlotte – making pizza dough," Kate told the former Great British Bake Off judge. "They love it because they can get their hands messy."

Louis' private birthday celebrations

Louis goes to Lambrook School in Berkshire with his brother and sister and has recently returned to the classroom after the Easter break.

It is likely a family birthday celebration, perhaps involving the Prince's grandparents Carole and Michael Middleton, will be held after the youngster's school day is over.

The Wales family at Lambrook School© Pool
Louis attends Lambrook School with his older siblings

His cheeky public appearances

William and Kate's youngest child is fourth in line to the throne and was born on St George's Day, April 23, 2018, at the private Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in Paddington, London, weighing 8lb 7oz.

He was christened Louis Arthur Charles at 11 weeks old, by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby at the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace in front of friends and family.

Prince Louis saluting© Chris Jackson
Prince Louis is known for his cheeky antics

In his short, yet eventful life, Louis has joined his family on a few public outings and never fails to become a talking point due to his playful nature. His most memorable appearances so far have been monkeying around at the late Queen's Platinum Jubilee Pageant, where he was seen pulling faces and playing on his mum Kate's lap. 

He's also displayed some lively facial expressions during his various Trooping the Colour appearances, including in 2023, when he appeared to be shouting and covering his ears as the RAF military flypast whizzed over the Buckingham Palace balcony.

Louis' 'wild side'

Princess Diana's astrologer and confidante, Debbie Frank, explained that Louis' "wild side" was written in the stars. 

Speaking exclusively to HELLO!, she said: "Louis is born to be his own person. His birth chart doesn't share the astrological blueprint usually associated with the steadfast, sensible sign of Taurus. Louis's Taurus qualities are overlit by Uranus, the wild child planet, which was positioned close to his Sun when he was born.  

"This means that he is disinclined to follow the herd (in this case royal protocol). He is likely to shake things up, add some mischief and disruption into the mix."

Prince Louis with his hand over Kate's mouth© Getty
Prince Louis is often a source of entertainment for royal onlookers

Describing Louis as a "breath of fresh air" who "provides some light relief from the stiff and staid royal line-up," she added: "He's so engaging, playful, cheeky, and utterly himself that people fall in love with his court jester antics. He is guaranteed to put a smile on everyone's faces, even though he is openly seen to remonstrate with his parents at royal events.

"His is an affectionate and loving personality with Venus in Taurus, Cancer rising, and the Moon in Leo. He is a crowd pleaser even though he breaks the royal mould. Adorable and engaging, he is easily forgiven, and his attractive personality magnetises a lot of attention."

Princess Kate and Prince Louis attend the Platinum Pageant on The Mall on June 5, 2022 in London© Getty
Prince Louis is the one person who can make Kate 'lose her cool,' said astrologer Debbie Frank

The one person to make Kate 'lose her cool'

Debbie also noted that young Louis is the one person who can make his mother Kate "lose her cool"

"Undoubtedly, Louis' determined Mars in Capricorn creates a fractious frisson with Kate's Sun in the same sign. He is the one person who can make her lose her cool! Kate is very self-disciplined and taming her little tiger cub is a challenge for her."


Princess Kate wearing black and white polka dots and a hat

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