By George, he's one!
BRITAIN'S Prince George celebrates his first birthday tomorrow, capping a year in which the globetrotting infant became the trend-setting face of the modern royal family.
The young prince will mark the occasion with a low-key party at the family home in Kensington Palace, in keeping with the wishes of his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to keep their first child out of the media glare.
The royals released a new photograph of Prince George on Saturday, showing how much he has grown.
Taken a few weeks ago, during a visit to London's Natural History Museum, it shows the toddler walking confidently with his arms outstretched.
The photographer, John Stillwell, said the future king was "very lively and very sure of himself and confident - a very determined young boy".
The cherubic royal has charmed onlookers during his few appearances in public, particularly during an April visit to Australia and New Zealand.
Influential magazine Vanity Fair celebrated Prince George's birthday by putting him on its front cover, calling him a "media star, style icon and PR triumph", and the world's "most eligible infant".
That is high praise for a one-year-old, but perhaps inevitable given the popularity of Prince William and his wife Kate, the young, fun and relatively modern face of the British royal family.
Along with Prince William's brother Prince Harry - who has joked that his nephew looks like a "young Winston Churchill" - they have helped rebuild the family's image following its much-criticised response to the death of the princes' mother, Diana, in 1997.
Prince George will spend his birthday surrounded by family and close friends at home, in contrast to Prince William, who spent his first birthday at home with his nanny while his parents, Prince Charles and Diana, toured Canada.
However, royal expert Katie Nicholl rejected suggestions that Prince Charles was a cold parent, saying he was partly responsible for Prince William becoming "the modern dad".
"Charles loved doing bath time and was a doting and loving father, so William is taking a leaf out of Charles' book," she said.
Prince George, the great-grandson of Queen Elizabeth II, "doesn't go to play groups", said Ms Nicholl, but he enjoys play dates with the young children of his parents' friends.
He appeared comfortable when romping with other tots during a play date in New Zealand, as part of the family's official three-week visit Down Under.