Lilibets cheeky portrait signifies Sussexes huge step away from tradition, says expert

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle released a precious photograph of their daughter Lilibet to celebrate her first birthday.

The new image was taken at Frogmore Cottage and showed Lilibet, who turned one on 4 June, smiling in the sunshine.

Their little girl was seen in a pale blue smock dress with her strawberry-blonde hair tied back with a white bow. Meghan reportedly chose California-based designer Isabel Garretón to design the frock – whose company of more than 30 years went out of business earlier this year – as her brand has previously pledged to “support the advancement of underprivileged women” and help break “the cycle of poverty”.

Prince Harry, 37, and Meghan, 40, who are also parents to three-year-old Archie, hosted a garden party in the Windsor Estate for the occasion, where the festivities consisted of a “casual and intimate” picnic. It’s understood that Claire Ptak, an American baker from east London’s Violet Bakery, baked a cake to celebrate Lilibet’s special day.

The snap was taken by photographer and friend of the couple Misan Harriman, who also captured the pair announcing their first pregnancy. Misan attended the small party with his wife and children.

Members of the royal family in attendance are said to have included Zara and Mike Tindall’s three children, Mia, eight, Lena, three, and Lucas, one, as well as Savannah, 11, and Isla, 10 – the daughters of Peter Phillips and his ex-wife Autumn.

It’s thought that Archie’s godfather, Charlie van Straubenzee, and his brother Thomas were also invited.

It marks the second official picture of Lilibet, after Harry and Meghan released a Christmas card in December.

And Grant Harold, former butler to Lilibet’s grandfather Prince Charles, has noted just how similar she looks to her father.

“When I was first shown the beautiful photograph of Lilibet, I thought it was her dad!” he told OK!.

“If you remember the photos of Prince Harry as a child, he had a similarly cheeky smile and playful nature – and her red hair was signature in the Spencer family.”

Grant adds that while the photo “does nod to royal tradition in terms of the background, the lighting, the outfit”, it shows how Harry and Meghan are choosing to step away from what we’d usually expect.

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“Portraits of royal children tend to be styled to absolute perfection,” he explained. “By allowing Lilibet to be almost consumed by her dress and to let her hair remain rather skew-whiff, Meghan and Harry are once again stepping back ever so slightly from convention to let their children’s natural personalities shine through.”

Harry and Meghan are said to have been “incredibly touched” by the hoards of birthday wishes they received for their second child, who was named in honour of her great-grandmother, Her Majesty the Queen.

The couple were also reportedly “amazed” to discover that over £80,000 had been donated to the World Central Kitchen – aimed to provide humanitarian aid, most recently in Ukraine – in their daughter’s honour.

Despite Lilibet’s birthday having taken place on the Saturday, her portrait was not released to the public until Monday evening, leading many to believe that the delay was an attempt on behalf of the duke and duchess to keep a low profile during their Platinum Jubilee visit, and not to remove any of the spotlight from the Queen herself.

It’s believed that the Queen, 96, may have met Lilibet during the Platinum Jubilee festivities for the first time, after the family stepped back from their roles as senior royals and moved to California.

Harry and Meghan and their two children departed earlier than expected from the Bank Holiday celebrations in the UK, and returned home to the US.

They were pictured observing the Trooping The Colour from a window nearby Buckingham Palace on Thursday, but were not part of the carriage procession, nor the group permitted to watch from the royal balcony.

They also joined various other members of the monarchy for the St Paul’s Cathedral thanksgiving service the following day, but didn’t attend the Party At The Palace concert on Saturday, nor the Jubilee Pageant on Sunday.

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