The Queen has wished Prince George a happy birthday (Image: POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

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The Queen has shared a sweet message wishing her great-grandson Prince George a happy birthday.

The young prince turns eight today and an adorable new photo of him taken by his mum the Duchess of Cambridge has been released.

The Royal Family Instagram account shared the new picture along with balloons and the message: "Wishing Prince George a very happy birthday today."

The new photo, which was released last night, shows George beaming as he sits on top of his parents' Land Rover Defender.

Including the famous vehicle in the image will be seen as a poignant tribute to the Queen's late husband, the Duke of Edinburgh, who had a passion for engineering.

A beautiful new photo of Prince George that has been released to mark his eighth birthday
(Image: PA)

Philip, who died in April, regularly drove Land Rovers and at his funeral his coffin was carried by a specially adapted Defender, which he helped design.

The snap of George was taken by Kate earlier this month during a family break to Norfolk and shows the eight-year-old dressed in a gorgeous polo-style striped top and shorts.

The Duchess has become an accomplished photographer and often releases her own pictures of her children to mark their special days.

The photo was posted to the official Instagram account of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and delighted royal fans – with many remarking on how the young prince looks just like his dad Prince William.

One commented on the post: "He looks more like William every day. Gorgeous boy!"

While another wrote: "He's a mini William."

According to MailOnline, Kate and William do have a celebration planned for George's big day today but Kensington Palace have not released any details about it.

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