Prince William and Kate Middleton Thank Supporters on Prince George's Eighth Birthday

Prince William and Kate Middleton have thanked supporters who sent "lovely messages" to Prince George for his eighth birthday.

Ahead of his birthday on July 22, the couple released a new photo of the third in line to the throne, taken by his mother, which shows him sitting on the hood of a Land Rover Defender in the English countryside.

After fans posted birthday greetings for the young prince, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge expressed their gratitude on social media.

Prince William and Kate tweeted: "Thank you for all your lovely messages on Prince George's eighth birthday!"

The official Twitter account of the royal family posted: "Wishing Prince George a very happy 8th birthday today!"

Prince Charles and Camilla's official Twitter account posted: "A very Happy Birthday to Prince George!"

Among fans to leave messages was India Willoughby, thought to be the first trans-women in the world to present an all female talk show.

She wrote on Twitter: "A smile to cheer all of us up! Happy birthday George!"

The new photo released for George's birthday showed him sitting on the hood of a Land Rover Defender—the same brand that carried Prince Philip's coffin at his funeral in April.

Thank you for all your lovely messages on Prince George’s eighth birthday!

— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) July 22, 2021

Wishing Prince George a very happy 8th birthday today! 🎈🎂 https://t.co/jD54Ey19Uo

— The Royal Family (@RoyalFamily) July 22, 2021

The touching tribute to Queen Elizabeth II's husband of 73 years comes as she prepares to take her summer holiday at her Scottish castle, Balmoral, where Prince Philip famously took charge of the barbecue each year.

At the time of the funeral, a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said: "The Duke used Land Rovers throughout his adult life and granted his Royal Warrant to Land Rover over 40 years ago.

"He visited Jaguar Land Rover's manufacturing facilities on numerous occasions over the decades and accompanied The Queen when she opened Jaguar Land Rover's new Engine Manufacturing Centre in Wolverhampton in 2014."

Thierry Bolloré, Jaguar Land Rover's chief executive said: "We are deeply privileged to have enjoyed a very long and happy association with The Duke of Edinburgh over many decades. We are also honoured that the Land Rover which The Duke designed will be used at the funeral on Saturday.

"The Duke was a tremendous champion for design, engineering and technology. During his visits to our sites he engaged with hundreds of employees and demonstrated his impressive knowledge and deep interest in vehicle design, engineering and manufacturing. The Duke was a truly remarkable man and will be greatly missed."

Kensington Palace said in a statement yesterday: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are very pleased to share a new photograph of Prince George ahead of his eighth birthday tomorrow. The photograph was taken earlier this month in Norfolk by The Duchess."

Prince George and Kate Middleton
Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, claps at an event for Scottish health service workers at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh on May 26. Prince George sits on the hood of a Land Rover Defender in the Norfolk countryside, in England, in a photo taken by his mother in July and released by Kensington Palace the night before his eighth birthday. Max Mumby/Indigo - Pool/Getty Images and the Duchess of Cambridge