Royal Commenter Explains Why Prince Louis’ Birthday Photo Was Released Slightly Later Than Normal

The photo wasn’t released until midday in the U.K. on April 23, leading some to wonder if the Wales birthday tradition had ended for good.

Prince Louis
(Image credit: Getty Images)

On the heels of the Princess of Wales’ Mother’s Day photo scandal last month, royal followers wondered if the tradition of getting birthday photos of Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis—typically photos shot by Kate herself—might be over for good. Fears seemed to be confirmed yesterday when, for much of Tuesday, Prince William and Kate were radio silent on Louis’ sixth birthday—but, finally, around lunchtime in the U.K., there it was: a photo of little Louis, taken by his mom.

Prince Louis 6th birthday photo

That smile can make any day better.

(Image credit: Courtesy of The Prince and Princess of Wales / Instagram)

It is a shift in protocol, and royal commenter Richard Fitzwilliams said the change likely boils down to two reasons: yes, the fallout from the Mother’s Day photo scandal (Photogate, or Katgate, or whatever you want to call it), but also Kate herself needing the time, space, and privacy that she asked for when announcing her cancer diagnosis last month.

“This [would have been] a shame because of the vexed issue of her Mothering Day photograph,” Fitzwilliams told The Daily Express. “The revelation that it was edited led to a highly embarrassing contretemps and the subsequent revelation that she was not only recovering from abdominal surgery but bravely fighting cancer. The video message when she revealed this was probably the bravest by any public figure about their health in Britain.” 

Kate Middleton

Kate continues to recover privately after being diagnosed with cancer earlier this year.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Fitzwilliams added that there could have been debates behind closed doors about what would be the most appropriate course of action, suggesting that the delay in releasing the photo might “emphasize her need for time, space, and privacy, which she expressed so movingly in the message and, after the misunderstandings of recent weeks, this should be universally understood,” he said.

The unedited photo of Louis seemed to be released without a hitch, and hopefully cemented a new protocol going forward that (thankfully, selfishly) includes birthday photos of George, Charlotte, and Louis that we’ve so come to appreciate and look forward to.

Prince Louis

This little guy turned six yesterday.

(Image credit: Getty Images)

It’s understood that Louis celebrated his birthday yesterday “surrounded by his family after his school day [was] over,” The Daily Express reports.

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.