01:01 - Source: CNN
Prince George's cute new holiday photos

Story highlights

Palace releases three images of Prince George ahead of the holiday season

The young prince smiles cheekily for the camera in two of the shots

His parents, William and Catherine have just returned from a trip to New York

CNN  — 

Forget about William and Catherine. The real star of this family is Prince George – as this year’s release of the royals’ official Christmas photographs proves.

The three images, taken outside with the young prince sitting on a flight of stone steps, show the third-in-line to the throne looking relaxed and sporting a quizzical look and a cheeky grin.

Over a long-sleeve white shirt, he wears a knitted, navy sweater vest featuring the iconic guardsmen seen outside Buckingham Palace, home to his great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II.

The pictures, taken in late November, show Prince George in a courtyard at Kensington Palace, where his parents have their official residence in an apartment recently refurbished at a cost of millions of dollars.

George is in shorts, rather than long pants, with knee-high socks and shoes. It’s a look some may love and others dismiss as rather twee.

One of the reasons William and Catherine released the pictures was in acknowledgment of the fact that their request for Prince George to grow up without intrusion from photography has been, and continues to be, honored, Kensington Palace said.

His parents seized the limelight last week on a three-day trip to New York City, where they met with celebrities, business leaders and political leaders, as well as wowing crowds of onlookers.

In the course of the whirlwind tour, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum, chatted with Hillary and Chelsea Clinton at a Royal Foundation reception and even met Jay Z, Beyonce and King James – also known as basketball star LeBron James – at an NBA game between the Brooklyn Nets and James’ Cleveland Cavaliers.

Young George was left at home on this occasion, having accompanied his parents on a spring trip to Australia and New Zealand. But these cute photos should restore the 17-month-old to center stage.

Catherine is due to give birth to the couple’s second child in April next year.

CNN’s Max Foster and Alexander Felton contributed to this report.