Princess Charlotte of Wales may have only arrived into the world in 2015, but she’s already made history. Thanks to The Succession to the Crown Act, Charlotte is now the first female royal who will never be overtaken in the line to the throne by a younger brother. So while she is still small, her impact is and will be huge. Let’s take a look back at this little princess’ small but mighty legacy with 40 photos that capture her remarkable evolution.
This article was originally published on WHerMoments
Let’s face it, after giving birth the last thing you want to do is go outside and smile for photographers.
But Kate, clutching her baby in her arms, did exactly that – and she was so obviously happy and relieved that perhaps it didn’t really matter much to her that the cameras were there.
Normal christenings can be busy affairs at the best of times, but royal christenings? They’re on another level!
Still, Kate managed to get some breathing room with baby Charlotte before entering the church for her ceremony in July 2015. With little Charlotte only having been a few months old at the time, this moment of calm must have been much needed.
Fans of the royal family went nuts when the Palace released a personal shot of Kate and co in March 2016. The family had gone on a skiing break, the first ever holiday for little Charlotte.
And everyone oohed and ahhhed over the sheer cuteness of it all.
When Charlotte was just one year old, she attended the June 2016 Trooping the Color ceremony, to excited applause from the crowds, no less. Kate grinned delightedly as Charlotte wiggled her hands.
Oh, and they showed up in matching outfits, too!
Getting off a plane in Victoria on September 24, 2016, Kate paused to give her daughter a cuddle.
Charlotte stuck her fingers in her mouth and gave an adorable smile, and every photographer in the area turned to snap the sweet scene.
Of all the photos taken on that day, perhaps the most heartwarming was this one: Charlotte happily playing with a toy drum as Kate looks on delightedly.
The picture ended up on the Kensington Palace Instagram, in fact, where it received a very warm reception.
Eventually, Charlotte accepted the balloon from her mom and smiled adorably. Kate smiled, too, although there was clearly a bit of relief mixed in there.
Playtime with kids can be hard, as both Kate and William can no doubt attest.
Alongside a host of other children (and some snappily-dressed clowns) in Canada, Charlotte was encouraged by Kate to take a party balloon.
Charlotte looked at it with all the disdain that a child barely out of diapers can muster, but it was still cute.
However, Charlotte eventually decided to just forgo the sweater altogether and took it off.
Seeing Charlotte standing patiently next to her older brother, waiting for her mother to pay attention to her, makes for a heart-meltingly adorable picture.
Sometimes, the simplest moments are the cutest ones of all. During the royal family’s eight-day tour of Canada in 2016, Charlotte visited a children’s party for military families, and her mother adjusted her (impeccable) sweater before she ran off to play.
And the result? This frankly adorable photo. Turns out, even princesses can't resist balloons!
Every young royal has to learn the royal wave, and Charlotte – fourth in line to the throne, don’t forget! – almost has the hang of it already.
Indeed, as Kate carried her during a 2016 visit to Canada, Charlotte performed an elegant wave while clinging to her mom’s jacket.
For Christmas 2016 Kate Middleton took the family to Berkshire to spend the holiday with her mother Carole and father Michael.
The group attended church, and Kate was photographed gently escorting a smartly-dressed Charlotte through the churchyard.
In May 2017 Charlotte served as pagegirl for the marriage of her Auntie Pippa, but it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Apparently, in the midst of the festivities she had a little fight with her brother – but Kate was there to calm her down.
Inexplicably, even that’s adorable!
A fascinated Princess Charlotte stole the spotlight during the annual Trooping the Color parade, which took place on June 17, 2017. Kate carried Charlotte and held her affectionately as the planes passed by overhead.
Prince George, though, wasn’t nearly as impressed by proceedings…
During official royal visits, including the one to Germany in July 2017, there are flowers everywhere. And, of course, Princess Charlotte couldn’t possibly be left out.
So, accompanied by her smiling mother, the pint-sized royal accepted a tiny bunch of welcome flowers that matched Kate’s.
Even royal kids behave badly from time to time, though. As the royal family toured Germany, eagle-eyed photographers spotted two-year-old Charlotte on the verge of what looked like a meltdown.
Kate was able to calm her down, thankfully, to the envy of mothers everywhere.
While touring a German Airbus compound in July 2017, Kate attended to her kids first and foremost, as any mother would.
At one point she picked Charlotte up and pointed something out to her, only to have Charlotte stretch her own arm out in imitation. Awww!
It looks like Charlotte has already mastered the art of the royal wave. Here, she says hello to well-wishers as she and brother Prince George get ready to see Prince Louis, their baby brother and fifth-in-line to the royal throne, for the first time in 2018.
And her cheeky little smile suggests she’s very happy about no longer being the youngest in the family.
Charlotte very nearly stole the show from the bride with her playful poses at the wedding between her uncle Prince Harry and new auntie Meghan, Duchess of Sussex.
The youngster couldn’t resist sticking her tongue out as she was driven to St.George’s Chapel in 2018. And she couldn’t stand still on the venue’s steps once the ceremony was over, either.
Perhaps Charlotte was suffering from wedding fatigue by the time this photo was taken in October 2018. While she had been all smiles at the nuptials of Harry and Meghan five months earlier, the royal was looking a little more pensive here.
On this occasion the bride and groom were her auntie, Princess Eugenie of York, and her new uncle Jack Brooksbank.
Who knows what caused Charlotte to put her hands over her ears while watching her great-grandmother's birthday celebration Trooping The Color from the royal balcony? Perhaps it was the noise from the crowd?
Maybe it was the spectacle of the Red Arrows above? Who knows, it could even have been a family member droning on about something or other?
Charlotte sure seems to enjoy sticking her tongue out on grand occasions. Here she’s acting mischievously again at the royal sailing regatta known as the King’s Cup in 2019.
The youngster was in attendance with her mother Catherine, Princess of Wales — less formally referred to as Kate — and grandparents Michael and Carole Middleton. Luckily, mom appears to have seen the funny side of things.
It doesn’t look as though Charlotte had any nerves about going to school for the first time. Yes, in 2019 the royal marked another major life milestone when she walked through the gates of London’s Thomas’s Battersea with her older sibling George.
And while some of her classmates may have been a little teary-eyed, Charlotte was nothing but pure sass.
Charlotte can put on her best serious face when the occasion calls for it, though. On Christmas Day 2019 she visited the Sandringham estate’s Church of St.Mary Magdalene for the annual festive service.
And while holding her mother Kate’s hand the youngster looked determined to be on her best behavior.
In the spring of 2022 Charlotte once again proved that she can tone down her sassy streak when necessary. As these photos prove she was the height of decorum for the somber occasion of her great-grandfather’s memorial service.
Just under a year earlier Prince Philip had passed away at the age of 99.
Little did they know it at the time, but this photo of Charlotte alongside brothers George and Louis was taken at the last Trooping the Color ceremony staged in honor of their great-grandmother.
Queen Elizabeth II sadly died after 70 years on the throne just three months after this annual birthday parade.
You may get a sense of déjà vu from this particular 2022 pic. Four years on from the first time that Charlotte was snapped clasping her ears at the Trooping the Color parade, she obviously still hadn’t got used to the noise.
Her brothers, mother, and great-grandmother appear to have been entirely unfazed.
The year 2022 was certainly an eventful one for the royal family. In the summer they, along with the rest of the nation, celebrated the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
And Charlotte looked like she was enjoying the festivities as she pretended to be a band conductor with a pencil during a visit to Cardiff Castle.
The Platinum Pageant on the Mall had the most random guestlist of all the celebrations to mark Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne. Where else would you find supermodel Naomi Campbell, Olympian Sir Mo Farah, and children’s TV favorites the Teletubbies on the same bill?
Perhaps that’s why a watching Charlotte looks slightly perplexed by the whole thing.
Could Charlotte have been the England women’s football team lucky charm? Shortly before the Lionesses took on Germany in the final of the 2022 European Championships, the youngster joined her dad William, Prince of Wales for a motivational Instagram video.
She said, “Good luck. I hope you win.” England subsequently secured a 2-1 victory to lift their first major trophy.
In 2022 the Commonwealth Games returned to home soil and specifically the U.K.’s second city, Birmingham. And Charlotte sure looked invested in all the sporting drama.
The royal could barely contain her excitement while watching events unfold at the Sandwell Aquatics Centre. And she also appeared to be happy with the result, too.
How’s this for a family photo? In 2022 William and Kate decided to relocate to Adelaide Cottage in Windsor’s Home Park after receiving permission from Elizabeth.
And that meant that their three kids had to change schools, too. Luckily, George, Louis, and Charlotte don’t appear too fazed by the prospect as they head for their first day at Ascot’s Lambrook School.
Charlotte and older brother George joined the nation, and much of the world, in mourning in September 2022 when their great-grandmother passed away aged 99. The siblings are pictured here at Elizabeth’s State Funeral at Westminster Abbey.
And their solemn expressions suggest they’re fully aware of the gravitas of the situation.
This somber black-and-white photo shows Charlotte and George heading to their great-grandmother’s State Funeral at Westminster Abbey. The former paid her respects to the long-reigning monarch with an outfit which echoed her mom Kate’s: a black overcoat, dress, tights, and shoes.
Charlotte’s very grown-up attire was completed with a short-brimmed hat.
Charlotte certainly got into the holiday spirit, judging by her outfit for the royal family’s annual Christmas Day church service in 2022. The youngster sported a suitably festive red overcoat for the occasion at Sandringham’s St.Mary Magdalene Church.
And her happy expression suggests that unlike most kids of her age, she was content to spend a few hours away from all of her new toys.
It’s not just at Christmas that Charlotte can dress for the occasion, though. In 2023 the youngster joined her mother at Windsor Castle for the Easter Mattins Service.
And her pretty floral dress, a shade of turquoise which complemented Kate’s royal blue, was the perfect outfit for the start of spring.