Balloons for a birthday princess

Princess Ingrid Alexandra of Norway turns ten today and to mark the occasion, the Norwegian Royal Household has released one of the most unusual birthday portraits ever.  In one of the special images to mark the future queen completing her first decade, Ingrid is shown walking through a field holding a huge bunch of golden balloons.

Balloons for a birthday girl - Ingrid Alexandra of Norway celebrates turning ten with a lot of accessories

The other images are more formal with the princess shown examining a flower and sitting inside, barefoot, looking at the camera.  But there are no smiles.  These are serious, thoughtful photos of a little girl who will be queen.

A princess playing with flowers - Ingrid of Norway in another official birthday photo

Some might argue the photos are too stylised and posed, adding an unnatural air to celebratory snaps.  Others will welcome the unusual and fresh approach to royal portraiture and celebrate the fact that this attempt at a new way of capturing princes and princesses hasn't resulted in the slightly terrifying Danish royal take on the 21st century released in November 2013.  The Crown Prince and Princess have certainly surprised everyone with their take on this milestone of a birthday for their little girl.  Haakon and Mette-Marit did things their way when Ingrid was born, releasing photos taken by the prince himself.  Now they're setting a new trend in marking major birthdays for future queens.  And Norway's history books have got their most unusual royal portraits yet.

The barefoot princess.  Ingrid of Norway in the most traditional of the three photographs taken to mark her tenth birthday