Britain's 'little monkey' Prince George turns two

LONDON, United Kingdom –  After being buffeted by controversial pictures from the Nazi era, Britain's royal family will focus on its future Wednesday, July 22 with low-key celebrations of Prince George's second birthday.

The future king's big day will be spent with his parents, Prince William and Kate, and baby sister Charlotte at the family's home in Norfolk, eastern England, a spokeswoman for Kensington Palace said. 

George is third in line to the throne after his father and grandfather Prince Charles, but has made only a handful of public appearances in the past two years.

None is expected on his birthday, although aides issued a new photo of William and his son, whom he has dubbed a "little monkey", laughing and smiling. 

 

Look who's turning two tomorrow! #HappyBirthdayPrinceGeorge This photograph, released today ahead of Prince George's... Posted by The British Monarchy on Tuesday, July 21, 2015

 

The image represents the public face of the royal family, in contrast to the black-and-white photograph published by The Sun tabloid at the weekend, showing the young Princess Elizabeth – later Queen – giving a Nazi salute in the 1930s.

She is apparently being encouraged by her uncle, the future Edward VIII, who some historians say was sympathetic to Hitler.

The pictures was taken from footage from the family archive, for which The Sun paid £30,000 (43,000 euros, $47,000), according to The Guardian newspaper.  

The British Film Institute has confirmed it has been digitizing some of the Windsors' home movies and is investigating whether it was the source of the leak.

Buckingham Palace said the publication was "disappointing" and is also investigating how the footage became public.

There was further embarrassment on Wednesday when The Times newspaper published photos, due to be sold at auction later this month, showing Edward giving a Nazi salute as he toured Germany in 1937, the year after he abdicated. 

 Family time  

Prince George celebrates his birthday almost three months after the birth of his little sister Charlotte on May 2.

Speaking earlier this month, Prince William admitted: "It is more responsibility looking after two little ones, especially when George is around – he's a little monkey."

The family currently spends most of its time at Anmer Hall, a mansion on the queen's private Sandringham estate in Norfolk, eastern England.

William began a new job last week as an air ambulance helicopter pilot based at Cambridge Airport, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from Sandringham, which involves shifts of 4 days on, 4 off. 

Regardless of his shift patterns, "they will have the opportunity to spend some time together" for George's birthday, a palace spokeswoman told Agence France Presse.

George Alexander Louis of Cambridge was born at St Mary's Hospital in central London at 4:24 pm on July 22, 2013, weighing 3.8 kilogrammes (8 pounds and six ounces).

He made his first overseas tour to New Zealand and Australia in April 2014 and celebrated his first birthday with a private party at Kensington Palace, the family London home.

He was last seen at Charlotte's christening on July 5, where he was spotted with the Queen, peering into his sister's pram and waving to the crowds.  (READ: Britain's Princess Charlotte christened in intimate ceremony  Robin Millard, AFP/Rappler.com