A portrait of a modern monarchy: Informal picture shows happy and relaxed Royal Family rubbing shoulders with the Middletons
- Official photography has a relaxed and happy ambience at odds with formal portraits of yesteryear
- Middletons - the descendants of coal miners - stand side-by-side with Dukes, Princes and the Queen
- They were taken by celebrity photographer Jason Bell
It is a fascinating blend of well-trodden history and social mobility.
Clustered around a Chippendale sofa in the sunbathed Morning Room of Clarence House, this new group photograph of the Windsor and Middleton dynasties is arguably the most intriguing of the christening portraits released yesterday.
Despite the Queen's presence and the rather Victorian familial grouping, there is a decidedly relaxed air to the picture, a portrait of a Royal Family for the modern age.
Indeed, aside from the Queen, the most magisterial figure is the Duchess of Cambridge's younger brother James, whose beard makes him look uncannily like his nephew's great, great, great-grandfather, King George V, or even a younger looking Prince Michael of Kent.
The official portrait for the christening of Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, photographed in The Morning Room at Clarence House in London yesterday
Joyful: Prince George appears happy and healthy with his mother and father, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Kate's family - her former air hostesses turned multi-millionaire entrepreneur mother, Carole, genial father Michael, and scene-stealing sister, Pippa - are positioned around Prince William.
In contrast Kate, whose ancestors were Durham coal miners and men of the soil, is grouped with the rest of the Royal Family - a dapper-looking Duke of Edinburgh, belying his 92 years and recent ill-health, grandparents Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, and a cheeky-looking doting uncle Prince Harry.
Regal: (back row L-R) The Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry of Wales; (front row, L-R) Queen Elizabeth, the Duchess of Cambridge holding Prince George with the Duke of Cambridge