Britain's Prince and Princess of Wales have released a new photograph of Prince Louis to mark his sixth birthday on Tuesday, April 23, 2024. The image, credited to Catherine, Princess of Wales, shows a smiling Louis lying on a blanket, and is the first to be released by the family since a photo-editing scandal erupted last month.

A royal source confirmed that the photo was taken by Kate, 42, in the last few days in Windsor, and that the Waleses were grateful for the birthday messages they have received for Louis. The source also acknowledged the challenging period the family has been facing, as Kate recently announced she was in the early stages of chemotherapy for cancer.


"This is in an unprecedented time for the Wales family as the princess continues her recovery," the source said. "The family were cognisant of the fact that they have asked for privacy during the princess' recovery, however, on balance, they wanted to share the image on their social media channels as a way to thank those who have sent birthday wishes."

The source emphasized that the photo is unedited, and CNN Photo Desk has analyzed the image, confirming that it has not found any discrepancies or signs of manipulation.

Releasing photos to mark their children's birthdays has become a tradition for William and Catherine, with many of the past portraits taken by Kate herself, a keen photographer. However, a handful of instances have also seen renowned professional photographers, including Mario Testino, Chris Jackson, and Millie Pilkington, capture some of the contemporaneous portraits.

The latest official photograph of Prince Louis is likely to be heavily scrutinized, as it is the first since a Mother's Day photo triggered a scandal last month. Kensington Palace had released an official family photo, said to have been taken by Prince William, which was later found to have been tampered with. The image should have put a stop to the speculation over the princess's whereabouts after a January abdominal surgery, but several international news outlets pulled the photograph from circulation citing concerns of manipulation at the source.

Kate took responsibility for the chaos that ensued, saying that she dabbled with editing "like many amateur photographers" and "wanted to express my apologies for the confusion," in a short statement posted to X, formerly Twitter. A second round of controversy was sparked weeks later when another official photograph of the late Queen Elizabeth II with her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, taken by Kate and released by the palace last year, was identified as being digitally manipulated.

The princess revealed an unspecified cancer was identified in post-operative tests on March 22, saying it had "been an incredibly tough couple of months" in a deeply personal video message during which she asked the public for privacy. The family subsequently kept a low profile over the Easter school holidays, but William resumed official duties last week.

While visiting a surplus food redistribution center, the prince promised to "take care" of Kate in response to receiving get well cards for his wife and father. King Charles III has also taken a step back from public-facing duties after revealing his own cancer diagnosis earlier this year.