Princess Kate takes candid photograph of Princess Charlotte to mark 9th birthday.

The Prince and Princess of Wales’s daughter is third in line to the throne

The Prince and Princess of Wales proudly shared a new photograph of Princess Charlotte to make her ninth birthday on Thursday.

The portrait, taken by mum Kate in Windsor in the last few days, shows the youngster smiling at the camera and casually posing outside next to a clematis plant with pink petals.

Sporting a burgundy cardigan over a floral shirt and a navy knit and a denim skirt, Charlotte wears her long locks loose over her shoulders.

The caption read: “Happy 9th Birthday, Princess Charlotte! Thank you for all of the kind messages today.”

Princess Charlotte's ninth birthday photo, taken in Windsor
Princess Charlotte on her ninth birthday

In line with the new precedent they set for Prince Louis’ sixth birthday last month, Prince William and Kate posted the image directly on social media on Charlotte’s special day on 2 May, rather than under embargo to the press as was the tradition.

It avoided the uproar sparked by the Princess’s digitally altered Mother’s Day photo.

Charlotte’s ninth birthday comes during unprecedented time for the Wales family with Kate appealing for time, space and privacy as she continues her treatment following her cancer diagnosis.

On 22 March, the Princess announced her diagnosis in a moving video message, saying to camera: “It has taken me time to recover from major surgery in order to start my treatment. But, most importantly, it has taken us time to explain everything to George, Charlotte and Louis in a way that is appropriate for them, and to reassure them that I am going to be OK.

“As I have said to them; I am well and getting stronger every day by focusing on the things that will help me heal; in my mind, body and spirits.”

Charlotte was last seen in public on Christmas Day when she walked to church with her family and second cousin Mia Tindall at Sandringham.

Princess Charlotte’s early life, education and more

Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was born in the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, at 8.34am on 2 May 2015, weighing 8lbs 3oz.

William and Kate leave hospital with baby Princess Charlotte
William and Kate leaving hospital with daughter Charlotte in May 2015

Mum Kate captured the first official photograph of newborn daughter with her big brother, Prince George, a month after Charlotte’s birth.

The tot was christened at St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham, with the then Cambridges residing nearby at Anmer Hall at the time.

Charlotte made history at the age of two as she was the first female royal to benefit from The Succession to the Crown Act (2013), which states that girls will not be overtaken by any future younger brothers, keeping her place in the line of succession when little brother Prince Louis arrived in April 2018.

The princess joined her parents on her first royal tour to Canada when she was just 16 months old. Relive this sweet mother-daughter moment between Kate and Charlotte as the royals attended a party for military families…

George and Charlotte, then aged three and two respectively, also joined their parents on their royal tour of Germany and Poland in July 2017.

She began her education at Willcocks Nursery School in Kensington in January, following the family’s move to London and later joined George at Thomas’s Battersea School.

the cambridge family at george's school
Charlotte’s first day at Thomas’s Battersea School in September 2019

George, Charlotte and Louis enrolled at Lambrook School in Berkshire in September 2022 after William and Kate relocated to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor.

Charlotte, who has a passion for dancing, has accompanied her parents to some major royal events over the years, including the King’s coronation at Westminster Abbey in May 2023.

Princess Charlotte, Princess of Wales Prince Louis
Charlotte on the balcony with William, Kate and Louis at the King’s coronation

She wore a mini-me version of Kate’s silver bullion, crystal and silver thread headpiece by Jess Collett x Alexander McQueen, along with a caped ivory McQueen frock.

What lies ahead for Princess Charlotte?

As third-in-line to the throne, Charlotte is slowly being introduced to public life by her parents, having joined them for a solo venture at the Commonwealth Games 2022 in Birmingham, volunteered with the Scouts during the Big Help Out after the King’s coronation and sorted donations at a baby bank with her brothers and mother in Maidenhead last year.

Princess Charlotte painting with the Scouts
Painting during the Big Help Out after the coronation

“Hopefully all three of the Wales children will have a chance to explore adult life beyond the strictures of royal duty, just as their father Prince William did, serving in the RAF Search and Rescue and again for East Anglian Air Ambulance,” HELLO!‘s Royal Editor Emily Nash says in this week’s newsletter for HELLO!’s Royal Club.

But when it comes to paving the way for the next generation of royals, Emily says that the “Princess Royal takes some beating”.

Prince George, Prince Louis and Princess Charlotte of Wales are seen during Trooping the Colour on June 17, 2023
Charlotte and Louis will no doubt support their brother George when he becomes King in future

“Princess Anne is one of the most popular members of the royal family and is hugely admired for her work ethic and dedication to her charities, all while being a devoted supporter of her brother King Charles,” she says.

“If Princess Charlotte does embrace full time royal life as expected, she can thank other family members for paving the way for her generation to take on even more fulfilling and impactful public work.”