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New photo of Prince George released ahead of his second birthday

Kensington Palace has released a new photo of Prince George to mark his second birthday tomorrow.

The photo was taken by Mario Testino after the christening of Princess Charlotte earlier this month.

The photograph shows The Duke of Cambridge holding Prince George in the gardens at Sandringham House.

It was part of the series of official photographs taken by Mario Testino following Princess Charlotte's baptism on Sunday 5th July.

"This photograph captures a very happy moment on what was a special day for The Duke and Duchess and their family. They are very pleased to share this picture as they celebrate Prince George's second birthday."

– Kensington Palace spokesman


Kate to make first official solo trip abroad

The Duchess of Cambridge is set for her first official solo trip without Prince William.

The Duchess of Cambridge is set for her first official trip without her husband, Prince William. Credit: Asadour Guzelian/Daily Telegraph/PA Wire/Press Association Images

Kate will travel to Malta on September 20th and 21st to represent the Queen as the island celebrates 50 years since becoming an independent state.

Kensington Palace said more details about the trip would be announced in due course.

Charles 'helped' with Kensington Palace renovation

Charles and Camilla "may have" provided assistance with the costs. Credit: Dominic Lipinski/PA Archive

A senior aide to Charles and Camilla has hinted that the pair helped with the private costs of renovating their Kensington Palace apartment.

William Nye, principal private secretary to the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, said: "Young couples setting up home receive some help from their parents or grandparents. Some assistance may have been provided."

William and Kate's apartment 'required complete refit'

Royal sources have defended the amount of public money spent on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's family residence at Kensington Palace, claiming it is "not opulent".

Despite more than £4 million of taxpayer cash being used to "completely reservice" the property, the source said William and Kate were "at pains" to "bear down" the cost to the public purse.

The Cambridges have been extremely sensitive to the fact that public funds were paying for a lot of this work [...]

"It is done to a very comfortable but ordinary level."

– Royal aide

Royal household sources said the apartment had required a "complete refit" and had problems such as no running water but the spending on it was now complete.

Furniture and fittings in the home, which is understood to have around 20 rooms, were met privately by the couple.

Charles earnings top £21m as state income doubles

The Prince of Wales received a record total of £21.7 million from his private estate and taxpayer funding in the last tax year, official figures have revealed.

Charles and Camilla during an eleven-day visit to India last year. Credit: Arthur Edwards/The Sun/PA Archive

The vast majority of the earnings came from the Duchy of Cornwall, which brought in £19.5 million after a rise of 2.4% or around half a million pounds compared with 2012/13.

The amount of money drawn from the state funded sovereign grant and government departments for official activities of the Prince and the Duchess of Cornwall nearly doubled compared with the previous year to almost £2.2 million.

Charles Principle Private Secretary, William Nye, said the rise in the use of public funds was mainly down to the fact that the travel costs of Charles's official engagements had returned to a "more normal" level after being "artificially low" the year before.

Many trips of the conducted last year to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee were funded by other countries in the Commonwealth realm, they said.

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