Princess Charlotte joins the Big Butterfly Count conservation project

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have shared a sweet snap of Princess Charlotte cradling a butterfly to urge Britons to help count the beautiful insects.

The six-year-old is pictured gently cupping a Red Admiral in her hands in the image shared on William and Kate’s Twitter and Instagram accounts.

The couple’s photos – that were taken close to the family’s home in Norfolk – also included some close-ups of Peacock butterflies on a spray of lilac.

Charlotte wears pink shorts and a cute purple T-shirt in the photo.

Princess Charlotte holding a red admiral butterfly
Princess Charlotte holding a red admiral butterfly in Norfolk (Duchess of Cambridge/PA)

The Cambridges are taking part in the annual Big Butterfly Count run by the charity Butterfly Conservation.

They posted: “We wanted to share these beautiful Peacock and Red Admiral butterflies as part of Big #ButterflyCount initiative taking place across the UK.”

They added: “Butterfly Conservation are encouraging us all to count these incredible creatures because not only are they beautiful creatures to be around but they are also extremely important.

“Butterflies are vital parts of the ecosystem as both pollinators and components of the food chain.”

“Hopefully you can beat last year’s total @savebutterflies!”

The Cambridges’ post received 3,200 likes on Twitter within 25 minutes.

The count began on July 16 and is due to conclude on Sunday. Participants can submit sightings of butterflies during the count period via the charity’s app.

Conservationists fear numbers will be badly hit this year with a warm April followed by a cold snap in May and a washout summer impacting numbers.