The pictures offer a glimpse at three new faces of the little royal.
There’s the knowing smirk, as if he’s about to set off on a new mission; there’s the inquisitive sideways glance, perhaps at one of his parents standing behind the photographer; and there’s the cheeky grin.
The shots were taken in late November by Ed Lane Fox, Prince Harry’s private secretary, and show George, who will be 17 months old on Dec. 22, seated on some stone steps in a courtyard at London’s Kensington Palace.
George watchers will notice his longer, thicker hair is neatly combed and parted from the right, and that he’s still blond like his dad.
The toddler is wearing a navy vest decorated with soldiers over a white, long-sleeve top, and shorts with knee-high socks and navy leather Start-Rite buckle shoes.
His parents acknowledge that there haven’t been any new, sanctioned images of the future king since his first birthday in July, and “are well aware of the interest in him and are keen to share some special moment in his life,” a palace source tells PEOPLE.
The royal couple saw Christmas and the end of the year as the perfect time to update people on the prince’s progress with the new shots.
And those close to the couple say there is a “grateful acknowledgment” from the royals of the fact that “their request for Prince George to grow up without intrusion from photography has been, and continues to be, honored.”
George, who dad William revealed earlier this week loves playing on his iPad,bspent time in Bucklebury with his grandmother, Carole Middleton, while William and Kate were on their successful royal visit to New York and Washington earlier this week.
Next up for George, after the annual pre-holidays bash at Buckingham Palace, is the Christmas holidays. He and his parents are expected to head to the Sandringham estate where they’ll stay in their newly renovated 10-bedroom country home, Anmer Hall, and visit great-granny Queen Elizabeth’s Sandringham House for some of the main festivities.