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Prince George at eight months: Portrait of a young royal on brink of adventure

By Susannah Cullinane, CNN
March 30, 2014 -- Updated 2044 GMT (0444 HKT)
Prince George takes his first steps in public as his mother, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, holds his hand Sunday, June 15, at a charity polo event in Cirencester, England. Prince George takes his first steps in public as his mother, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, holds his hand Sunday, June 15, at a charity polo event in Cirencester, England.
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Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
Prince George, the royal baby
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STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Britain's Prince William and Kate have released the third official portrait of Prince George
  • The photo shows George with his parents at their London residence, Kensington Palace
  • The 8-month-old is traveling with his parents to New Zealand and Australia in April
  • It is unclear which of their engagements he will be present at during their tour

(CNN) -- Britain's Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have released a family photo with their son Prince George, a week ahead of their official visit to New Zealand and Australia.

It is just the third official official release of photos of Prince George and shows him with his parents aged eight months at their home in Kensington Palace, London.

The Duke of Cambridge, the second in line to the throne, is pictured with his wife and son looking out of an open window. The smiling duchess, 32, is holding Prince George on her knee as he focuses his attention on the family pet Lupo, a black cocker spaniel pictured sitting on the duke's lap.

Catherine is wearing white, while William, 31, looks relaxed in a shirt with the sleeves rolled up. George sports a light blue jumper with his name written on it, over a white collar.

The picture was taken by photographer Jason Bell, who also took the official photos for Prince George's christening, last October.

The family will be in New Zealand and Australia from April 7 to 25 but it's unclear what opportunities the public in both countries will have to glimpse the youngest royal in person.

Announcing the royal couple's planned engagements earlier this month, the Prince's private secretary identified occasions at which the youngest royal might be present, but kept an element of suspense:

"George being just a little over eight-months-old by the time they travel, I'm sure you will appreciate that the couple will have to make a final decision on those moments much closer to the time."

Prince George's big day out
Royal couple's 1st appearance since baby
Royal family portrait
Prince William talks fatherhood

Prince George's first official photo was taken by his maternal grandfather, Michael Middleton. It showed Prince William and Catherine -- the latter holding Prince George swaddled in a white blanket -- on the lawn of her parents' home in Berkshire.

New Zealanders may be hoping their country provides the backdrop for an updated version of that photo during the royal tour, after all, Prince William was recorded taking his first steps on the lawn of Government House in Auckland on his first visit, in 1983.

Royal itinerary

The Duke last visited New Zealand after the devastating 2011 earthquake in Christchurch. On this trip, the royal couple will visit the city together and stop to remember the 185 people killed.

As well as being Prince George's first visit Down Under, his mother Catherine will be making her debut.

"There's no hiding the enthusiasm for the visit by both the Duke and the Duchess. The Duke, because he has been before; and the Duchess because she has never been to either country but has wanted to do so as long as she can remember," Kensington Palace said in its earlier announcement.

The pair may not always be in complete agreement on their trip, however.

Kensington Palace said the Duke and Duchess were "just a little competitive" and some of the events on the itinerary will pit husband against wife.

The royal couple will board separate Team NZ America's Cup yachts for some informal racing in Auckland and coach rival teams in "rippa" rugby, a non-contact version of Rugby Union, in the South Island city of Dunedin.

A century after the outbreak of World War I, the tour will also see William and Kate paying tribute to both countries' war dead and visiting military bases.

Their last day will be April 25 -- ANZAC [Australian and New Zealand Army Corps] Day, which originally marked the landing of soldiers from both nations at Gallipoli, Turkey, in 1915. In the eight-month campaign fought there, 2,721 New Zealanders and 8,709 Australians died, before the allied forces withdrew. The day is now a tribute to those who have died in all conflicts.

The Duke and Duchess will plant a seed from a pine tree at the site of the battle at the Australian War Memorial in Australia's capital city, Canberra, before returning to London.

CNN's Marie-Louise Gumuchian contributed to this report

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