LONDON - Britain's Prince William and his wife Catherine on Monday thanked well-wishers around the world as they prepared to celebrate their son Prince George's first birthday.
The couple released two new photographs of the family, showing toddler George fascinated by butterflies at London's Natural History Museum, ahead of his birthday on Tuesday.
William and Kate, 32, were to throw a private party with family and close friends at their Kensington Palace home to mark the occasion.
In a short message accompanying the birthday pictures, they thanked the public for their generosity towards the little prince over the last 12 months.
"We would like to take this opportunity on George's first birthday to thank everyone over the last year, wherever we have met them, both at home and overseas, for their warm and generous good wishes to George and our family," they said.
George has only been seen in public on a few occasions, most notably on the royal tour of Australia and New Zealand in April.
In one of the new pictures released for his birthday, George is looking at a blue morpho butterfly that has landed on the back of his father's right hand.
The youngster, sitting on a bench with his parents, appears about to pick up the insect.
In the other picture, William, Kate and their young son are transfixed by something above their heads.
The photographer, John Stillwell, said George, who is third in line to the throne, was "very lively and very sure of himself and confident - a very determined young boy".
The shots were taken a few weeks ago. George is pictured wearing a pair of dungaree shorts over a polo neck T-shirt, shoes and socks.