Prince Louis beams on his bicycle in new birthday portrait

Watch: Prince Louis’s third birthday marked with picture of young royal on his bike

A smiling Prince Louis has been pictured riding his bicycle before his first day at nursery, in a new image shared to mark his third birthday.

The picture was taken by his mother, Kate, on Wednesday, as Louis prepared to go to Willcocks Nursery School for the first time.

Dressed in a blue striped shirt and navy jumper, he grins proudly as he holds the handlebars of his red bike.

The royal's ensemble was completed with blue shorts, and navy socks and shoes.

Although he is pictured on his balance bike, the young prince was driven to nursery.

EMBARGOED to 2230 BST THURSDAY APRIL 22, 2021. Copyright: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. NEWS EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NO COMMERCIAL USE. NO MERCHANDISING, ADVERTISING, SOUVENIRS, MEMORABILIA or COLOURABLY SIMILAR. NOT FOR USE AFTER 31 DECEMBER, 2021, WITHOUT PRIOR PERMISSION FROM KENSINGTON PALACE. This photograph is provided to you strictly on condition that you will make no charge for the supply, release or publication of it and that these conditions and restrictions will apply (and that you will pass these on) to any organisation to whom you supply it. There shall be no commercial use whatsoever of the photograph (including by way of example only) any use in merchandising, advertising or any other non-news editorial use. The photograph must not be digitally enhanced, manipulated or modified in any manner or form. All other requests for use should be directed to the Press Office at Kensington Palace in writing. MANDATORY CREDIT: The Duchess of Cambridge. Handout photo dated 21/4/2021 released by Kensington Palace of Prince Louis for his third birthday and taken on Wednesday by his mother, the Duchess of Cambridge, at Kensington Palace, shortly before he left for his first day of nursery at the Willcocks Nursery School. Issue date: Thursday April 22, 2021.
Prince Louis was photographed by his mother the Duchess of Cambridge on Wednesday. (The Duchess of Cambridge)

Read more: 27 pictures of Prince Louis as youngest Cambridge turns 3

Louis is attending the same nursery his sister Princess Charlotte went to - though George, the oldest Cambridge child, went to nursery in Norfolk as they had not yet moved to London full-time.

According to the Willcocks website, children enjoy cake with their classmates on their birthday, so Louis may be able to share a treat with friends on Friday.

Nursery school pupils enjoy free play time, group time with the teachers, poetry, singing and cooking throughout the day.

They can also attend lunch club, when they are preparing to spend longer at school before reception, with French lessons and "musical movement".

Willcocks Nursery is just over half a mile from Kensington Palace. It's ranked outstanding by Ofsted.

Kate, 39, may have been invited to "stay and play" for the first session, where the parent stays with the child until they are ready to have longer away from their mother or father.

Willcocks also welcomes the child with a favourite toy or a picture to help them transition.

Fees at Willcocks are £3,400 per term for children attending morning school and £2,250 per term for those enrolled in afternoon school.

Watch: George, Charlotte and Louis join parents at panto

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The image of Louis was taken on Wednesday which was also his great-grandmother's birthday as the Queen turned 95.

And his mum and dad went back to work, visiting an air cadets squadron in East Ham in their first outing since the funeral of Prince Philip.

Prince Louis may have another birthday with some coronavirus restrictions but Friday also marks the first day after royal mourning for the Duke of Edinburgh.

The Royal Family took two weeks as a mourning period, though many of the family members continued with some of their engagements during that time, wearing black or dark colours as a mark of respect.

Louis was born at 11.01am on 23 April 2018 at the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, weighing 8lb 7oz.

He was christened 11 weeks later at the Chapel Royal in St James Palace. His full name is Louis Arthur Charles, a nod to his grandfather, Prince Charles.

Britain's Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge (C), holds the hand of her son, Britain's Prince Louis of Cambridge (L) and her daughter Britain's Princess Charlotte of Cambridge (R) as they attend a special pantomime performance of The National Lotterys Pantoland  at London's Palladium Theatre in London on December 11, 2020, to thank key workers and their families for their efforts throughout the pandemic. (Photo by Aaron Chown / POOL / AFP) (Photo by AARON CHOWN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
Louis with his mother the Duchess of Cambridge and sister Charlotte at the theatre in December 2020. (Aaron Chown/AFP)

Although he is not often seen in public, he has been included in social media posts by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during the pandemic, including a clip of him asking Sir David Attenborough what his favourite animal is, and clapping for carers alongside his brother and sister in the early stages of the lockdown.

He also enjoyed a trip out to the theatre with his family in December 2020, an event to thank key workers and their families.

The duchess has carved out a role for herself as a family photographer, allowing her to share particular images of her children, and sometimes Prince William.

Several of her images have been shared by Royal Family members after the death of Prince Philip, including one of the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh surrounded by seven of their great-grandchildren at Balmoral in 2018.

Watch: Touching photos of Philip, the Queen and their family