Royal family Christmas photo
The Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge pose with their children, Prince George and Princess Charlotte in their family photo released ahead of Christmas Kensington Palace/Twitter

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have released a new family photo wishing everyone a merry Christmas. The photo features Prince William, Kate Middleton, Prince George and Princess Charlotte.

The Christmas family photo of the young royal family shows an all-smiling Kate crouching and holding seven-month-old Charlotte. A candid Prince George stands by his mother as Prince William looks on.

The photo was posted online on Kensington Palace's Twitter page and is the second such photo released for the public featuring all the four members of the royal family in one frame. William, Kate and the two little heirs were last photographed together at the christening of Princess Charlotte in July.

A statement on the Twitter post read: "A new family photo - Merry Christmas from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George and Princess Charlotte. The Duke and Duchess are hugely appreciative of all the warm messages they have received about their family this year and are very much looking forward to their first Christmas as a family of four."

Kate's Christmas plans

This will be the first Christmas for Princess Charlotte and the first Christmas for the four royals together. During her visit to North Wales along with Prince William last month, Kate Middleton said Prince George already had his mind on the holidays.

Asked if she had started preparing for Christmas Day, the 33-year-old Duchess said: "I haven't started yet, but George will be starting to talk about Christmas soon."

The Duchess has also attended the Queen's annual Christmas lunch accompanied by Prince George and her brother-in-law Prince Harry, while Prince William was away to attend a memorial service at St Michaels Church in Mere, Wiltshire.