Palace drops gorgeous new photo of Kate Middleton amid Meghan, Harry drama

What royal drama?

On Thursday, the palace released to the public a stunning new portrait of the Duchess of Cambridge to mark the royal's 38th birthday. Snapped by royal photographer Matt Porteous, the casual snap shows the mother-of-three in jeans, smiling and looking away from the camera. It's believed to be taken in front of the Cambridge family's country home, Anmer Hall, last year.

"Thank you everyone for all your lovely messages on The Duchess of Cambridge’s birthday!" the photo on Kensington Royal's Instagram account reads.

Comments from well-wishers have flooded the post, including from Prince Harry and Meghan Markle who wrote:

"Wishing a very happy birthday to The Duchess of Cambridge today! 🎂❤️."

The photo comes just hours after the Duke and Duchess of Sussex dropped that they were taking a step back from royal life to become financially independent from the crown and split their time between North America and the United Kingdom.

According to BBC News' royal correspondent Jonny Dymond, Meghan and Harry's decision to step away from royal life was not made aware to other members of the royal family.

"BBC Understands that no other member of the Royal Family was consulted before Harry and Meghan issued their personal statement tonight," Dymond tweeted, adding that "the Palace is understood to be ‘disappointed’".

"I think it indicates a real strength of feeling in the palace tonight — maybe not so much about what has been done but about how it has been done - and the lack of consultation I think will sting," Dymond told the BBC. "This is clearly a major rift between Harry and Meghan on one part, and the rest of the Royal Family on the other."