What was Prince George, third in line to the British throne, well-documented devotee of shorts and fan of Fireman Sam, thinking about as he squished his nose against the aeroplane window and looked down through the glass, about to fly home from the royal tour of Canada? Was he surveying the land that will one day be his, like Simba looking down from Pride Rock? Was he internally bemoaning the royal plane's lack of in-flight entertainment options? Given that the Prince was a. three years old at the time, and b. probably distracted by the sheer majesty of his noise cancelling headphones, we’ll never know for sure. All we can hope is that one day, this grainy image forms part of the closing montage for a particularly moving episode of The Crown’s inevitable 37th season.
So inscrutable is the toddler prince’s expression in this photo, taken as the Cambridges departed Victoria Harbour by air in 2016, that it’s become perfect meme material. When you’ve bailed on plans but Instagram shows that your friends have dared to have a great time without you anyway? Prince George staring through a window. When you see someone in your Twitter mentions begin a sentence with ‘not all men…’? Prince George staring through a window. Non-specific existential dread? You get the gist.
As it turns out, this particular instance is just one of many times that our future king has elevated the surreptitious window peek to an art form (or, at least, has inadvertently been part of a picture that's inspired competitive caption-making online). There's been carefree baby George pulling a tongue out as he watches the Trooping the Colour from inside the Palace; regal George in the back seat, blessing us with a royal wave as he drives off to aunt Pippa's wedding reception; George recruiting Princess Charlotte to share his cabin window, look down on their adoring public and join the meme-making game. If his mother Kate is her best self at Wimbledon, Prince George just needs a pane of glass, even an empty frame, to set the Internet alight.
On July 22nd, we'll be wishing a very happy birthday to Prince George, most relatable of royals. May he stare thoughtfully through windows for many, many years to come.
George: 'I know, I know, it's Aunty Pippa's wedding, but can we all just agree that you're really here to see me!'
'OH! What's occurring?'
When you're a young, carefree royal baby, living your best life
When that 'effortless' Instagram pose is a nightmare to recreate IRL
When everyone else is ordering halloumi fries, but you've given up dairy
'So you're trying to tell me that ordinary people travel like this, every day?'
'Look, Charlotte. Everything the light touches is our kingdom'
'Mum, these children are stealing my signature pose!'
That face when you realise that your parents have given your baby brother one of your middle names
'As the private plane took off into the Canadian skies, I couldn't help but wonder: was I born adorable, or did I have adorableness thrust upon me?'