Birthday snaps show new side of Charles
Photographs of Prince Charles showing him laughing with his family while bouncing his grandson Prince George on his knee have been released in London to mark the Prince of Wales' 70th birthday.
The extraordinary photos, depicting Charles in a way that has not been seen before, come as Clarence House continues a publicity campaign designed to win public affection for the heir to the throne, who is taking on an increasing royal workload.
Shot in the gardens of his London home, Clarence House, in September, they show Prince Charles with his wife Camilla sitting on a bench, surrounded by sons Prince William and Prince Harry, their wives Catherine and Meghan, and his three grandchildren Prince George, 5, Princess Charlotte, 3, and baby Prince Louis, seven months.
The five princes, three duchesses and one princess are all coloured-co-ordinated and wearing shades of blue and white.
While princes William and Harry are wearing suit jackets, they have opted for no ties, while Prince Charles kept it formal in a pinstriped suit, tie, and pocket handkerchief. Catherine wears a polka-dot dress with a high neckline, while Meghan is elegant in a sleeveless white dress with black trim.
It is only the third official photo-shoot for Prince Louis, who smiles as his mother Catherine the Duchess of Cambridge holds him in her arms.
The photos were taken before Prince Harry and his wife Meghan the Duchess of Sussex departed on their Australian tour, and pregnant Meghan is not showing any hint of her baby bump.
In one formal photograph the royals smile for the camera, even the children are looking straight down the lens.
In the second, more relaxed frame, the family is distracted by something amusing happening off-camera, with Meghan and Prince George laughing out loud, while Camilla the Duchess of Cornwall gives Princess Charlotte a hug and points out the action to her.
A series of events have been organised to celebrate Prince Charles' birthday on November 14. The prince has been taking on increased responsibilities and raising his profile as he takes on more duties from his mother, the 92-year-old Queen Elizabeth, as she ages.
The Prince of Wales is not as popular as his elderly mother or the glamorous young royals, and royal courtiers are continuing to work on winning the public's affection for him and his wife Camilla, whom he married in 2005.
Charles is also seeking to become more transparent, partnering with Google to allow Street View to take people inside Clarence House from their computers, where they can view the state and private rooms.
He has also uploaded a number of private family photographs online, including of him playing with his sister Princess Anne as children, teaching a young Prince Harry to fish (with unsuccessful results when Harry snagged his father's jumper) and sitting on the grass with both his sons.
A documentary which aired in the UK last week also showed a softer side of Prince Charles as he played with Camilla's grandchildren, talked to turkeys on a farm, and vowed not to meddle when he became king.
Queen Elizabeth is hosting a party at Buckingham Palace on Wednesday night in London to mark his milestone birthday.
In a statement released by Clarence House, the photographer who shot the family portraits, Chris Jackson from Getty, said: "I was delighted to have been asked to take these portraits of the Prince of Wales surrounded by his family to celebrate the important milestone of his 70th Birthday. It was particularly special to capture such an informal and relaxed family portrait over a fun afternoon in the gardens of Clarence House.''