Prince George, William and Kate – and Lupo – Pose for New Photo

03/29/2014 at 06:00 PM EDT

Prince George New Photo: Poses with Mom, Dad and Dog Lupo
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George and Lupo
Jason Bell/Camera Press/Redux
Who's looking at you, Lupo? Little Prince George, that's who.

The 8-month-old prince glances at the family pet, as he is held in a window at Kensington Palace by proud mum Kate.

The new family shot has been released by the Duchess of Cambridge and her husband, Prince William as they make their last preparations for a three-week tour of New Zealand and Australia.

Echoing a photo taken by Kate's dad, Michael Middleton, last summer, George is clearly relaxed alongside the family pet in their regal surroundings.



Photographer Jason Bell, who also took the pictures of the family at George's christening in October, aimed his lens at the family as they sat in a window seat at their home, Apartment 1a, at Kensington Palace in mid-March.

The photo came as William and Kate, along with Prince Harry, attended the wedding of friend Lucy Meade on Saturday. The royal couple left George at home as they partied with other close friends including Tom and Missy van Straubenzee.

Prince George, William and Kate – and Lupo – Pose for New Photo| Lupo, The British Royals, The Royals, Kate Middleton, Prince George, Prince William

Prince William, Princess Diana and Prince Charles in New Zealand in April 1983

Tim Graham / Getty

William and Kate wanted the informal image to be released a week before they leave for New Zealand. There's a precedent: The couple also released an official portrait before they kicked off their North American tour back in 2011.



The picture also follows a tradition established by William's parents, Prince Charles and Princess Diana, who posed with the infant prince when they headed Down Under in 1983.

The portrait serves as a timely memento to mark Kate's first Mother's Day on Sunday (the U.K. celebrates on an earlier day than the U.S.) and gives the world a little pictorial update on the prince.

Now crawling, George has a couple of teeth poking through, and, though fair-haired like his father at the same age, he has darker eyebrows and the eye color of his Middleton side.



The easygoing tone of the shot was enhanced by the couple's dressed-down look. William, 31, was in khakis and open-necked shirt, while Kate, 32, wore a cream blouse and casual trousers.

The upcoming trip to Australia and New Zealand, a palace source tells PEOPLE, provided "a perfect opportunity to do [the portrait]", given "an awful lot of interest" before the couple sets off on their first tour with their baby.

Royal watchers can get their next glimpse of George on April 7, when he will be carried from a plane arriving in Wellington, New Zealand.

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