The royal kids steal the show in Will + Kate's 2019 Christmas card

See all of this royal family's Christmas card photos.

The royal kids steal the show in Will + Kate's 2019 Christmas card

Times are changing Britain's monarchy and you don't have to look further than the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's 2019 Christmas card for proof.

Kensington Palace posted Will and Kate's annual holiday photo on Instagram and it is candid, casual and super cute. The only thing that's missing is Kate (who was behind the camera, taking the photo).

The Duchess snapped the family photo earlier this year in Norfolk. The black and white image shows The Duke of Cambridge kissing Prince Louis while Princess Charlotte and Prince George look into their mama's camera lens.

Unlike in previous holiday photos, the Cambridge family is not dressed similarly. The Duke and Prince Louis are the most formally attired of the bunch, while Princess Charlotte is sporting a backpack, a parka, a dress and leggings. The weather must have been a bit confusing that day because Prince George is wearing a zip-up fleece with shorts and bare legs. It is a very authentic look for a 6-year-old.

The kids kind of look like they dressed themselves, which may be why their mom likes this photo so much. It's casual and real, which seems to be part of the evolution of the Cambridge's Christmas photos.

The 2018 Christmas card 

Last year's card was shot by photographer Matt Porteous, the family shot captures the royal kids, Prince George, then 5, Princess Charlotte, then 3, and baby Prince Louis were absolutely adorable while sitting on a tree with mom and dad.

The vibe was casual, with Prince George standing on one foot and Prince William leaving the top couple buttons of his plaid shirt undone.

Prince Louis (then 8 months old) was a total star in tights and shorts.

While this is hardly the first candid shot of the royal family, the 2018 year's Christmas card is a pretty big departure from 2017's, which was shot further in advance than this one and was more formal in every way.

The 2017 Christmas card 

The 2017 card was more of a portrait than a candid shot and the wardrobe choices were very royal. The photo was taken at Kensington palace but the all white background obscures the setting. The kids look adorable, but also old-fashioned and formal in this pic.

It's still more lively than royal portraits of the past, thanks in large part to Prince George who looks like he was in constant motion during this shoot (as most kids that age are).

The 2016 card 

The very formal 2017 card was more official looking than the family's 2016 card, which featured a candid shot, again by royal photographer Chris Jackson. Prince George was a mere preschooler and Princess Charlotte was only a toddler in the photo, snapped during a visit to Canada.

While the little ones were impeccably dressed for royal duties they were very much just curious kids interested in a performer making balloon animals.

The 2015 card

And back in 2015 a young Prince George was again wearing shorts for the family Christmas card, which was more formal than this years but still showed the royals were moving in a more authentic direction when it comes to family photos. One of the baby's shoes has fallen off and there is a toy in the shot (oh and not everyone is looking at the camera).

This Cambridge's first card as a family of four proved that when you're trying to get a good pic of the kids, sometimes the shot where the baby is shoeless is the best pic.

The 2013 and 2014 cards 

Before the 2015 card Prince George had been an only child, so he's the only kid on the 2013 and 2014 cards...and he sure did look cute!

The Cambridge's first Christmas card as parents featured a photo of the three of them taken when Prince George was christened earlier that year. The next year the couple chose a more candid shot from when they visited the Sensational Butterflies exhibition at the Natural History Museum.

[A version of this post was originally published December 14, 2018. It has been updated.]

My village lives far away—but my Target baby registry helped them support me from afar

Virtual support was the next best thing to in-person hugs

They say you shouldn't make too many major life transitions at once. But when I was becoming a mama for the first time nearly five years ago, my husband and I also moved to a new town where we didn't know a soul, bought our first house and changed jobs.

To put it mildly, we didn't heed that advice. Luckily, our family and friends still made it feel like such a magical time for us by supporting our every move (literal and otherwise) from afar. They showered us with love through a virtual baby shower (expectant parents nowadays can relate!) featuring the unwrapping of gifts they were able to ship straight to me from my Target registry.

Here's one piece of advice I did take: I registered at Target so I could take advantage of the retailer's benefits for registrants, which include a welcome kit valued over $100, a universal registry function and more. Fast-forward a few years and Target has made the registration perks even better for expectant parents: As of August 2020, they've added a Year of Exclusive Deals, which gives users who also sign up for Target Circle a full year of savings after baby is born on all those new mama essentials, from formula to diapers and beyond.

Honestly, even without the significant perks of a free welcome kit with more than $100 in coupons, additional 15% off coupons to complete the registry and a full year of free returns, registering at Target wasn't a hard sell for me: Even though the experience of shopping for baby items was new, shopping with Target felt like returning home to me… and the comfort of that was such a gift.

And of course, Target's registry plays a vital role right now, as expectant parents everywhere are being forced to cancel in-person baby showers and navigate early parenthood without the help of a hands-on village. A registry like this represents a safe way for communities to come through for new parents. If you're anything like me (or any of the other mamas here at Motherly), you certainly have emotional ties and fond memories associated with Target.

What to register for at Target was also an easy talking point as I began to connect with moms in my new community. I will always remember going on a registry-building spree with my next door neighbor, who had young children of her own. As we walked the aisles of Target back in 2015, she suggested items to add… and we laid the foundation for what has since become one of my most cherished friendships.

Even as I made connections in my new hometown, I was nervous that expecting my first baby wouldn't feel as special as if I were near family and friends. But my loved ones exceeded all expectations by adding the most thoughtful notes to gifts. They hosted a beautiful virtual baby shower and even encouraged me to keep the registry going after my baby made his debut and new needs arose.

In the years since, "community" has taken on a wonderfully complex new meaning for me… and, in these times of social distancing, for the rest of the world. I've come to cherish my newfound friends in our local community alongside those long-time friends who are scattered around the county and my virtual mama friends.

Now, as my friends' families grow, I'm so grateful that I can show them the same love and support I felt during my first pregnancy. I sing the praises of Target's baby registry—especially in light of the pandemic, since I know mamas can do everything from a distance thanks to Target's website and the added benefit of getting trusted reviews and helpful registry checklists.

And now that I'm on the gift-buying side of the equation, I've found new joy in picking thoughtful gifts for my friends. (Because goodness knows Target has something for everyone!)

For my friend who is a fellow runner, I teamed up with a few others to give the jogging stroller she had on her registry.

For my friend who is a bookworm, I helped her start her baby's library with a few books that are also well-loved in our home.

For other friends, I've bundled together complete "sets" with everything they need for bathing or feeding their children.

I know from my own experience that, yes, the registry purchases are so appreciated, but the thoughtfulness and the support they represent means even more. Because although my village may have been distant, the support they showed me was the next best thing to in-person hugs.

Start your own Target Baby Registry here to experience a Year of Benefits including a Year of Exclusive Deals through Target Circle to enjoy for a full year following your baby's arrival, a year of free returns, two 15% off completion coupons and a free welcome kit ($100 value).

This article was sponsored by Target. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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