With eager photographers at the ready, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge stepped out of a London hospital on April 23, 2018, to show off their newborn son Louis for the very first time. Then, around two weeks later, Kensington Palace released the first official pictures of the royal family’s youngest prince. And the images were taken by a very special photographer.
Falling in love with a prince is the basis for countless stories and fairytales, but, for Kate Middleton, it actually happened. She met Prince William when they each began their studies at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland in September 2001.
However, the romantic spark between them didn’t ignite until a year later, and the couple were able to keep their love under wraps until 2004. That year, the media caught Prince William and Middleton on a ski trip together, and, with that, word was out that he had a girlfriend.
When their partnership became public, it put neverending attention on the pair. And by early 2007 this pressure led the couple to call it quits – but they wouldn’t be apart for long. In July of that same year, William and Kate reunited and attended the Concert for Diana. The event celebrated William’s mother, who had tragically died ten years earlier in a car accident.
From there, their romance became more and more serious, as the pair stepped out and attended high-profile events at each other’s side. In October 2010 Prince William was ready to make their togetherness official – he asked Middleton to marry him on a trip to Kenya, and the duchess-to-be said “yes.”
On April 29, 2011, Prince William and Middleton had a spectacular royal wedding at Westminster Abbey in the heart of London. And two billion people watched from around the world as the happy couple became the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Then, just a year and a half after their wedding, the pair had an exciting announcement: their first baby was on the way. Middleton gave birth to a son, George, on July 22, 2013. The duchess subsequently paid a moving tribute to Prince William’s mother by wearing a polka-dotted gown to present her newborn to the press, just as Princess Diana had done when she introduced William in 1982.
A little over a year after George’s birth, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced that their little family would be growing once again. Princess Charlotte came into the world on May 2, 2015, with a very special set of middle names: Elizabeth for her great-grandmother and Diana for her grandmother.
But Charlotte’s birth was special in more ways than one. In 2011 something called the Perth Agreement was implemented, which stated that succession to the throne would no longer give preference to male heirs. In other words, if Prince William and Middleton happened to have another son, he wouldn’t be bumped ahead of Charlotte in line to rule the United Kingdom. Charlotte would be the first princess ever to maintain her spot.
So, Charlotte made history on April 23, 2018, when Middleton and Prince William welcomed their third child, a son. The new baby, Louis, remained fifth in line to the throne, one spot behind his older sister.
Just as they had with their other children, Prince William and Kate stepped out of the hospital to introduce their newest son to the press for the first time. Newborn Louis slept peacefully in his mother’s arms as cameras caught the first glimpses of his face.
And, once again, Middleton paid homage to her late mother-in-law’s style by wearing a red dress with a Peter Pan collar. Princess Diana wore a similar jacket when she showed off a newborn Prince Harry to the media in September of 1984.
Meanwhile, after giving birth to her third child in less than five years, some speculated that the Duchess of Cambridge would take a break from public life. They thought an extended maternity leave would be on the cards, so that the duchess could spend more time with all of her young children.
And while it’s not clear how much time Kate intends take off, it’s likely that she would still need to make a few public appearances throughout this period. For example, on May 19, 2018, Middleton’s brother-in-law, Prince Harry, will marry Meghan Markle, and the Duchess and her husband will, of course, be in attendance.
And the couple won’t be alone. They’ll be accompanied by Prince George and Princess Charlotte, who are not only expected to attend the nuptials, but to have a role in the ceremony, too. Meanwhile, Louis, who will only be four weeks old at the time of the wedding, will stay home.
But the public will have an upcoming opportunity to see Prince Louis, as there is speculation that the newborn’s christening will take place in July 2018. And, fortunately for royal aficionados, Kensington Palace has released a few more portraits of the baby to tide them over until then.
“Their Royal Highnesses would like to thank members of the public for all of the kind messages they have received following the birth of Prince Louis, and for Princess Charlotte’s third birthday,” Kensington Palace said in a statement. Along with their note of gratitude, the royal couple released photos of the new prince and his sister to celebrate both occasions.
What’s more, the images came from a very special photographer: the Duchess of Cambridge herself snapped the pictures of her children. It was no surprise, considering Middleton is an avid photographer who has focused her lens on a number of family milestones.
Middleton took one of the images on April 26, 2018, a mere three days after her newest son was born. Still, Prince Louis had his eyes open in the photo, his first portrait. The other shot, which showed Charlotte cradling her little brother and kissing him on the head, was taken on May 2, which is also Charlotte’s birthday.
The happy images just went to corroborate what royal biographer Ingrid Seward said about Prince William and Middleton’s newest son, whose arrival made them a family of five. “It completes them,” Seward told People.