Prince George Looks All Grown Up in New Portrait Released Ahead of His 8th Birthday

The photo, snapped by his mom Kate Middleton, includes a sweet tribute to Prince Philip

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

An annual — and adorable — royal tradition continues!

Ahead of Prince George's 8th birthday on Thursday, his parents Prince William and Kate Middleton shared a new portrait of the future king. Released via the couple's social media pages, the photo shows George sitting on the hood of a car, grinning for the camera in a blue polo shirt with orange stripes.

"Turning eight(!) tomorrow 🥳🎂" the photo was captioned on Instagram and Twitter.

There appears to be a subtle tribute to the birthday boy's great-grandfather Prince Philip, who died in April at age 99. Prince George seems to be sitting on a Land Rover, a favorite car of Queen Elizabeth's husband — he even had his casket carried on a custom version of the vehicle for his funeral.

As in recent years, mom Kate acted as photographer to capture the perfect birthday photo, taken earlier this month in Norfolk where the Cambridge family has a country home. The royal mom is also known to get behind the camera for the birthdays of Prince George's younger siblings, 6-year-old Princess Charlotte and 3-year-old Prince Louis.

On George's 7th birthday last year, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge released two portraits: an outdoorsy shot in a casual camo T-shirt and another in which he sported a toothy grin while wearing a dark green polo shirt.

William and Kate have released official portraits for every one of George's birthdays. When he turned 1, they issued a set of beautiful photos of him and his parents taken at London's Natural History Museum at a butterfly exhibit. In 2019, the then-6-year-old soccer fan was shown in an England soccer jersey and a green polo shirt.

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George's 8th birthday appears to be marking a sartorial shift for the young prince. Many etiquette experts say boys in aristocratic circles usually swap formal shorts with knee socks for pants at this age, and indeed George has been seen in more grown-up clothing lately, even twinning with his father on occasion.

"He is growing up fast and more of a young man than a little boy now," Sophie Mirman, founder and creative director at Trotters, recently told PEOPLE of George's maturing style.

She noted of William and Kate, both 39: "I think his parents are fantastic at judging what to wear and when."

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