As she gazes adoringly at her baby son, the mother's bond with her child is unmistakable.
The Duchess of Cambridge cradles Prince Louis after his christening last Monday in one of four images released today by Kensington Palace.
Louis, 12 weeks old today, slept through the entire ceremony but here he has opened his eyes as his mother stands in the gardens of Clarence House.
Photographer Matt Holyoak's picture shows Kate and her son in all their finery but also captures an intimacy rarely seen in royal portraiture.
Louis is wearing a replica of the royal christening robe, made of fine Honiton lace lined with white satin, which was created in 1841 for Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, Victoria, the Princess Royal.
That gown was worn for all subsequent royal baptisms including the present Queen, her children and grandchildren.
But by 2008 it was clear the gown was becoming delicate and the Queen's senior dresser Angela Kelly ran up a hand-made replica in order to preserve the original.
Kate wears a cream Alexander McQueen dress with floral headpiece by Jane Taylor, and her long her has been swept back in a bun.
Kate Middleton's family
takes centre stage and dominates Prince Louis' christening photos in
the Queen and Prince Philips' absence
Prince Louis may have been the star of the show, but it was his mother’s family that took centre stage for this happy portrait after his christening.
In fact there were more Middletons present than HRHs as guests of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Louis was christened in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace last Monday, before the families then reassembled at nearby Clarence House.
And with the Queen and Prince Philip absent, it is Kate’s family who dominate in this image, one of four taken by photographer Matt Holyoak and released today by Kensington Palace.
A portrait taken in the Morning Room at Clarence House shows the extended family including the Duke and Duchess of Sussex
While Louis sleeps on his mother’s lap as Prince George, Prince William and Princess Charlotte sit alongside, the eye is immediately drawn to Kate’s mother, Carole Middleton.
The 63-year-old has been positioned behind the children and wears a £1,250 powder blue silk crepe 1940s-inspired dress from Suzannah, with a matching hat.
She stands proudly behind her daughter with her husband Michael, 69, to her left.
Kate’s sister Pippa, 34, now Mrs Matthews and expecting her own child, also stands behind the Chippendale sofa in a custom-made Alessandra Rich outfit that complements her mother’s.
Her husband, multi-millionaire hedge fund manager James, whom she married last year, makes the family group, along with her bearded brother, also called James. The other half of the line-up includes the new Duchess of Sussex, the first time she has joined her husband’s family for such an intimate portrait since her wedding to Prince Harry in May.
Meghan, 36, in an olive green Ralph Lauren outfit with a hat by Stephen Jones, stands next to a slightly serious-looking Harry.
The Duchess of Cornwall is cheerful in a cream Fiona Clare dress and a Locke hat, while grandfather Prince Charles appears tanned and relaxed.
A more intimate family portrait shows a beaming Prince George and Princess Charlotte gazing at her new sibling
On the sofa, William has a protective arm around George – who will be five next Sunday – while cheeky Charlotte stares challengingly at the camera as if plotting her next piece of mischief.
Two more images have also been released, seen on the next pages. One shows only members of the royal family, with Charlotte holding her baby brother’s tiny hand. George is by now sitting on his father’s lap and grinning happily at the camera, presumably at some behind-the-scenes antics.
The final image shows only the Cambridges, with Charlotte apparently playing peek-a-boo from underneath Louis’s christening gown as Kate gazes at her baby son and a beaming William placing a comforting hand on a slightly hesitant George.
Mr Holyoak said: ‘Everyone was so relaxed and in such good spirits, it was an absolute pleasure. I only hope I have captured some of that joy in my photographs.’
The Duchess of Cambridge looked every inch the proud mum as she left Prince Louis' christening with her infant son cradled in her arms. Her husband Prince William followed behind with Prince George, four, and Princess Charlotte, three
Prince Louis, dressed in a traditional christening gown, was sound asleep in his mother's arms
Prince Harry, 33, attended with his wife the Duchess of Sussex, 36, who wore an olive green dress by Ralph Lauren