Official Prince Charles birthday photos show relaxed and happy royal family

When Gramps is celebrating the big 7-O, every loving family wants to gather for a souvenir snap.

But if he’s also in the Royal Family, that usually means a row of chairs in a Buckingham Palace drawing room and glum kids rigid with boredom.

So the official photos marking the Prince of Wales’ 70th birthday are truly a breath of fresh air.

They capture the smiling face of a modern monarchy, and the loving bond between Charles and his close-knit clan.

The heir to the throne sits on a bench beaming, surrounded by his family.

And, while that bench is probably hand-carved oak and the Clarence House lawn freshly mown by a gardener, the Wales-Cornwall-Cambridge-Sussexes really look like a NORMAL happy family.

One touching shot shows them collapsing in giggles at something happening behind the camera.

Gangly Prince George, five, who is perched on his Grandpapa’s knee, roars with laughter while Camilla cuddles smiling Princess Charlotte, three, pointing out the incident.

Harry, with his arm round his wife’s waist, sees it too and pregnant Meghan doubles over laughing.

Sensible William keeps his eye on the photographer, probably urging the others to get a grip, while smiling Kate bounces a chubby-legged Prince Louis, six months.

And while dapper Charles is wearing one of his Savile Row pin-stripes, his sons are informally dressed in open-necked shirts.

They are the picture of a loving and devoted family.

This week William and Harry paid a moving tribute to Papa in a TV documentary marking his birthday.

And the pair, who grew closer than ever to their father following the tragic death of Princess Diana, said they wanted him to be a big part in their own children’s lives.

Camilla, also interviewed for the programme, said: “He’s wonderful with children. He doesn’t mind crawling on the floor for hours with them. We had a picture the other day with Louis pulling on his hair. He loves it. He’s exceptionally good with very small children and babies.”

Charles has clearly mellowed over the past decade and become more relaxed about family photoshoots.

Just before his marriage to Camilla in 2005 he took his sons on a stag do ski trip to the posh resort of Klosters.

On a photoshoot the Prince was caught on microphone slating the press and BBC reporter Nicholas Witchell.

Grinning through gritted teeth, he told his sons: “I hate doing this. Bloody people.

“I can’t bear that man [Witchell]. He’s so awful, he really is. I hate these people.”

Urged by a photographer to “look like you know each other” the boys leaned closer.

Charles grumped: “Do I put my arms round you? What do we do?” William replied: “Keep smiling, keep smiling.”

Charles wisely followed the advice and in the 13 years since has learned much more from William and Harry about showing emotion in public.

At 70 he seems more comfortable in his skin than ever before.

And, as these pictures show, the modern monarchy is facing the future with a smile.

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