Happy birthday to Princess Charlotte, who turned 3 on Wednesday, May 2! As has become a 21st-century royal tradition, in honor of the now big sister's special day, the royal family took to social media to wish her well. In contrast with what they did for Charlotte's and big brother Prince George's past birthdays, however, the royal family opted not to release a new official photograph of the young royal. Instead, all three of the royal family's official social media accounts shared photos of Charlotte taken in the last year.
On Twitter, the Royal Family, Kensington Palace, and Clarence House accounts all reposted the adorable photo, taken by proud mom Kate Middleton, that the palace shared earlier this year on Charlotte's first day of preschool. "Wishing a happy third birthday to Princess Charlotte – thank you all for your lovely messages!" wrote the Kensington account, which shares the appearances and special occasions of Prince William and Prince Harry's families. And while the Kensington and Clarence House accounts shared the same photo on Instagram, the Royal Family account went rogue, choosing instead to share one of the sweet photos of Charlotte waving to photographers on her way to meet newborn brother, Prince Louis, at St. Mary's Hospital last week.
In the past, the family has shared new portraits of George and Charlotte, usually taken by Kate, on their birthdays. Last year, for example, the palace released new portraits in honor of Charlotte's second birthday in May and George's fourth birthday the following July. On Wednesday, royal expert Penny Junor gave Elle U.K. a possible explanation for why the family decided not to release new birthday portraits this year. "William and Kate won't want to overexpose their children. They have never been entirely conventional so I imagine they might release a photo in their own time, and it might be one Kate takes herself," Junor said, adding that this photo could be one of George and Charlotte cradling their new little brother. "A photo to commemorate the new baby's birth is hardly excessive, however, and I would say, for historical purposes, it is important for there to be one," Junor said.