Princess Charlotte brings along canine friend for new photo marking seventh birthday

Princess Charlotte – The Duchess of Cambridge

One is becoming a seasoned professional at posing for photographs; the other is the new girl on camera.

As Princess Charlotte poses for her seventh birthday photographs, she has brought the new Cambridge family dog ​​along for her first pawprints in the limelight.

The family dog, called Orla, is seen for the first time in an official picture taken by the Duchess of Cambridge, as the birthday girl sits with an arm around her faithful friend.

Princess Charlotte is photographed sitting casually among a patch of bluebells in the woodland near her Norfolk home, in the latest set of charming images allowing the public their annual glimpse of the growing schoolgirl.

With long, neatly-cut hair and an endearingly gap-toothed smile, the Princess is joined by black spaniel Orla.

Thought to be around two years old, the dog joined the Cambridge family in 2020 shortly before the death of their beloved Lupo: himself the star of numerous family photoshoots including the first images of a newborn Prince George settling in at home.

Princess Charlotte - The Duchess of Cambridge

Princess Charlotte – The Duchess of Cambridge

Orla was bred by the Duchess’s brother James Middleton. Her mother is Luna, sister to Lupo.

In January 2021, it was reported that the Cambridge family had decided their new puppy from Luna’s litter, with Prince George, then seven, and Princess Charlotte, five, helping.

The energetic puppy had arrived at Anmer Hall in Norfolk shortly before the death of Lupo, which the Cambridges confirmed in November 2020.

“He has been at the heart of our family for the past nine years and we will miss him so much,” they said at the time.

In an emotional social media post, Mr Middleton had added: “It is with great sadness that Lupo, the beloved dog of my sister Catherine and her family has passed away.

“Nothing can ever prepare you for the loss of a dog.”

James Middleton - Instagram

James Middleton – Instagram

Mr Middleton is now an experienced dog breeder, and has written movingly about how dogs have saved his life, with the “unsung heroes” giving him the confidence to continue through tough times.

The name Orla traditionally means “golden princess”, but is not thought to have been chosen for a particular meaning. It fits neatly into the family theme, with Luna and Lupo’s mother called Ella, and Mr Middleton’s other dogs called Inka, Mabel, Zulu, and Nala.

She has already been seen at the Cambridges’ side in public, but has never been included in a family photograph before.

Kensington Palace confirmed her name as they released the new images of Princess Charlotte ahead of her seventh birthday on Monday.

“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are delighted to share three new photographs of Princess Charlotte,” said a spokeswoman.

“The photographs were taken in Norfolk this weekend by the Duchess.”

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - Jason Bell

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – Jason Bell

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge - Michael Middleton/PA

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – Michael Middleton/PA

The images show the Princess beaming at her mother behind the camera, holding a handful of wild flowers as if she is about to make a daisy chain.

Her jumper coordinates with the bluebells behind her and is worn over a spotted polo neck shirt currently on sale for £15 for a pack of three.

Unusually for the Princess, who is usually photographed in dresses, she is wearing navy blue trousers for her woodland walk.

The Princess, who is a student at Thomas’ School in Battersea, is clearly at ease with Orla, having grown up together in the last two years.

The spaniel will go some way to filling the hole in the Cambridge family’s lives after the death of Lupo, who took a starring role in many photoshoots even before the three children were born.

Prince George - Matt Porteous /PA

Prince George – Matt Porteous /PA

He famously appeared alongside the baby Prince George for images at the Middleton family home, with the new family sitting on a picnic rug in the shade of a tree.

Eight months later, they were photographed in a window with George almost nose-to-nose with the gentle dog.

In 2016, the dogs had his own brush with controversy after the Prince’s third birthday photographs captured the pair sharing an ice cream, which is not considered healthy for dogs.

Lupo had joined the Royal household in early 2012, keeping the Duchess company after Prince William was joined for six weeks to the Falkland Islands as an RAF search and rescue pilot.

Orla will now see the Cambridge family through the next stage of their lives, likely to include a move to Windsor and the beginning of a new school for the children as they get older.

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