PICTURES

Future of British monarchy captured in official christening shots

LONDON (AFP) - The first photographs in 120 years showing four generations of present and future British monarchs were released on Thursday, the day after the christening of Prince George, the newest member of the dynasty.

One of the four pictures officially released to the media shows a seated Queen Elizabeth II flanked by three future kings; her son Prince Charles, grandson Prince William and great-grandson George, who is being cradled by his father.

The images were taken by celebrity snapper Jason Bell in the morning room at Charles's official London residence, Clarence House, immediately following the young prince's christening at the nearby Chapel Royal of St James's palace on Wednesday.

Other photographs show the three-month-old prince with his mother Catherine, the queen's husband Prince Philip, William's brother Prince Harry and Charles's wife Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.

The royals are pictured standing next to Catherine's mother Carole Middleton, father Michael and siblings James and Pippa.

The last photograph showing four generations of current and future British monarchs was taken in 1894, at the christening of the future Edward VIII.

In this picture, Queen Victoria is holding the baby, flanked by her son - the future Edward VII - and her grandson - the future George V.

Royal supporters will be hoping that the new prince will go on to have a more distinguished reign than that of Edward VIII, his counterpart in the 1894 shot.

Edward became king in early 1936 but triggered a constitutional crisis only months into his reign after proposing to American divorcee Wallis Simpson.

Unwilling to end the relationship, Edward abdicated and left the throne to his brother Albert, who officially became George VI, subject of recent Hollywood blockbuster The King's Speech.