Prince Louis fourth birthday: Prince William and Kate Middleton share new photos

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Smiling barefoot on the sand with a cricket ball in hand, Prince Louis is all grown up in new photographs released to mark his birthday. 

Louis, the youngest child of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, turns four on Friday, just two days after his great-grandmother the Queen celebrated her milestone 96th birthday. 

Proud William, 39, and Kate, 40, have released four photos to mark the occasion. They were taken by Kate, a keen photographer, at the beach near their home of Anmer Hall, Norfolk, earlier this month. 

In one photo, Louis flashes a cheeky grin as he races towards the camera. Two more show the prince, dressed in a star print jumper, blue check shirt and teal shorts, holding a cricket ball, perhaps suggesting he is already a budding young sportsman.

Birthday boy! Smiling barefoot on the sand with a cricket ball in hand, Prince Louis is all grown up in new photographs released to mark his birthday. Louis, the youngest son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, turns four on Friday

Birthday boy! Smiling barefoot on the sand with a cricket ball in hand, Prince Louis is all grown up in new photographs released to mark his birthday. Louis, the youngest son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, turns four on Friday

Playful prince! In one photo, Louis flashes a cheeky grin as he races towards the camera

Another shows the prince, dressed in a star jumper, check shirt and shorts, holding a cricket ball, perhaps suggesting he is already a budding sportsman

Playful prince! In one photo, Louis flashes a cheeky grin as he races towards the camera (left). Another shows the prince, dressed in a star jumper, check shirt and shorts, holding a cricket ball, perhaps suggesting he is already a budding sportsman

Say cheese! The fourth and final photo shows Louis giving another gap-toothed grin as he looks up at the sky - the picture of a happy and healthy little boy. The photos were taken by the Duchess of Cambridge at a beach in Norfolk earlier this month

Say cheese! The fourth and final photo shows Louis giving another gap-toothed grin as he looks up at the sky – the picture of a happy and healthy little boy. The photos were taken by the Duchess of Cambridge at a beach in Norfolk earlier this month

The fourth and final photo shows Louis giving another gap-toothed grin as he looks up at the sky – the picture of a happy and healthy little boy. 

Royal fans will be delighted to see new photos of Louis after missed out on recent royal engagements attended by his big brother and sister. 

George, eight, and Charlotte, six, joined their parents first at the Duke of Edinburgh’s Service of Thanksgiving, and then at Easter Sunday service, while Louis was left at home. 

The windswept north Norfolk coast holds a special place in the Cambridges’ hearts. It is where the family can unwind together by climbing sand dunes, learning to sail, or taking a bracing dip in the sea.

William and Kate memorably released a video montage of their family, partly shot on a Norfolk beach, to mark their 10th wedding anniversary last year.

The Duchess of Cambridge often takes photos of her children to mark their birthdays. Last year she snapped Prince Louis on his training bike ahead of his first day at nursery. 

Missing out: Royal fans will be delighted to see new photos of Louis after missed out on recent royal engagements attended by his siblings. George, eight, and Charlotte, six, joined their parents for Easter Sunday (above) but Louis stayed home

Missing out: Royal fans will be delighted to see new photos of Louis after missed out on recent royal engagements attended by his siblings. George, eight, and Charlotte, six, joined their parents for Easter Sunday (above) but Louis stayed home

Family outing: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also brought George and Charlotte to the Duke of Edinburgh's Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey last month. Prince Louis had to stay at home

Family outing: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also brought George and Charlotte to the Duke of Edinburgh’s Service of Thanksgiving at Westminster Abbey last month. Prince Louis had to stay at home

All together: The last time royal fans saw Louis was on a family trip to the pantomime in London, shortly before Christmas

All together: The last time royal fans saw Louis was on a family trip to the pantomime in London, shortly before Christmas

His birthday will be a welcome joy and distraction for William, 39, and Kate, 40, who have faced questions this week about Prince Harry’s recent interviews with US media outlets. 

In yet another controversial interview with a US broadcaster, the Duke of Sussex claimed on Wednesday one reason he flew to the UK last week to see his grandmother – for a supposedly private meeting – was because he wanted to make sure ‘she’s protected and got the right people around her’.

His controversial comment caused not just derision that it came from a man who has spent much of the last two-and-a-half years abroad and has caused his grandmother so much heartache, but also speculation as to who he could be referring to.

Harry is known to have a historical hatred for the so-called ‘men in grey suits’, the senior courtiers who advise the Queen. 

All grown up! How Prince Louis has gone from chubby-cheeked baby to adorable little boy 

All three royal households were united yesterday in determination not to be dragged into a public slanging match.

William and Kate were forced to avoid questions on Harry’s comment as they visited the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) in London.

As they left, a broadcaster called to William: ‘Sir, does the Queen need protecting?’ The couple did not stop or respond.

William is likely to be irritated at being put in that position as he and his wife were highlighting the generosity of the British people to the DEC Ukraine appeal, which has raised more than £300million so far.

However their attention on Saturday will be on their youngest son, who is often compared to his maternal grandfather, Michael Middleton.

It is not known how they will celebrate the occasion but it is possible it could be with Pippa and James Matthews and their children Arthur and Grace. 

Joint celebrations: Louis turns four just two days after the Queen celebrated her 96th birthday, marked by this photo

Joint celebrations: Louis turns four just two days after the Queen celebrated her 96th birthday, marked by this photo

Clouding the fun: Prince William and Kate Middleton faced questions over Prince Harry's recent interviews with US outlets

Clouding the fun: Prince William and Kate Middleton faced questions over Prince Harry’s recent interviews with US outlets

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