Prince George's 8th Birthday Photo Includes a Subtle Tribute to His Great-Grandfather Prince Philip

The photo, snapped by Kate Middleton, shows Prince George grinning while seated on the hood of a Land Rover Defender

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Prince George. Photo: The Duchess of Cambridge/Getty Images

Prince George is shaping up to be another royal Land Rover fan, just like his great-grandfather Prince Philip.

Prince William and Kate Middleton shared a new portrait of their eldest son ahead of his 8th birthday on Thursday. The casual photo, snapped by Kate earlier this month in Norfolk, shows Prince George grinning for the camera while seated on the hood of a Land Rover Defender.

The British vehicle brand is synonymous with Prince Philip, who died in April at age 99. Queen Elizabeth's husband had a lifelong love for Land Rovers, which reflected his interest in engineering and technology. A member of the public even left a toy Land Rover among the flowers and condolence letters placed near Buckingham Palace following Philip's death.

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Prince Philip leans against his Land Rover. Tim Graham Photo Library via Getty

Instead of the usual hearse, Prince Philip wanted his body to be taken to St. George's Chapel at his funeral in a modified Land Rover. According to the palace, he started on the design with the car manufacturing company 18 years ago. Based on a Land Rover Defender TD 130, the vehicle was modified with an open-top rear section based on Philip's specifications. It was also painted dark bronze green (per the royal's instructions), which is the same color the British military uses for many of its Land Rovers.

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The funeral of Prince Philip. Adrian Dennis/WPA Pool/Getty Images

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Prince William and Kate, both 39, similarly honored Prince Philip during their May tour of Scotland. The royal couple arrived at an outdoor screening of the Disney movie Cruella in a 2A Land Rover from 1966 that once belonged to Prince Philip.

<a href="" data-inlink="true">Prince William</a>, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge arrive in a Land Rover Defender that previously belonged to <a href="" data-inlink="true">Prince Philip</a>, Duke of Edinburgh to host NHS Charities Together and NHS staff at a unique drive-in cinema to watch a special screening of Disney’s Cruella at the Palace of Holyroodhouse on day six of their week-long visit to Scotland on May 26, 2021 in Edinburgh
Prince William and Kate Middleton. Chris Jackson - WPA Pool/Getty

Following Prince Philip's death, Prince William released a never-before-seen photo of his grandfather with his eldest child. The sweet photo, which shows Prince George reading a book as he sits beside Prince Philip in a carriage, was taken by Kate in Norfolk in 2015.

Along with the photo, William said, "My grandfather's century of life was defined by service – to his country and Commonwealth, to his wife and Queen, and to our family.

"I feel lucky to have not just had his example to guide me, but his enduring presence well into my own adult life – both through good times and the hardest days. I will always be grateful that my wife had so many years to get to know my grandfather and for the kindness he showed her. I will never take for granted the special memories my children will always have of their great-grandpa coming to collect them in his carriage and seeing for themselves his infectious sense of adventure as well as his mischievous sense of humour!

"My grandfather was an extraordinary man and part of an extraordinary generation. Catherine and I will continue to do what he would have wanted and will support The Queen in the years ahead. I will miss my Grandpa, but I know he would want us to get on with the job."

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