Her parents have described her as a "joy from heaven" and on the eve of her second birthday the little angel has been captured in an adorable new snap.

Taken at Anmer Hall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's family home in Norfolk, where she is expected to spend her birthday, the snap shows Charlotte, who will turn 2 tomorrow, beaming at her mother as photography enthusiast Kate snaps away.

In the photo, taken last month, Charlotte is wearing a traditional Fair Isle cardigan in baby blue and yellow from John Lewis with a slightly crumpled Peter Pan collar poking out of the top.

Her hair, which has grown noticeably since the last time she was photographed, has been pinned back with with a navy blue ribbon, most likely so her mother can capture her adorable expression.

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It looks as though the duchess may have handed her daughter a picture book to keep her sweet while she poses for the picture, the Daily Mail reports.

Charlotte, who is known for her love of animals, appears to have been photographed in the hall's barn, seeming well settled in a pile of hay for her portrait.

The new photograph was shared by Kensington Palace on Monday. After sharing the image on social media, the palace gave a message of thanks on behalf of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

In a tweet it said: "TRH would like to thank everyone for the lovely messages they have received & hope that everyone enjoys this photograph as much as they do."

It appears to be becoming quite the tradition in the Cambridge family as Charlotte's first birthday photos were also captured by the duchess.

In the four photos released by Kensington Palace a year ago today, Charlotte was enjoying family life at her home. Kate also photographed her daughter with George in her first official photos, and then again when she reached 6 months of age.

The candid snaps that we see taken by the Duchess of Cambridge are worlds away from the official photographs taken for her son's second birthday.

When he turned 2 in 2015, Prince George's official birthday photograph was taken by renowned Italian photographer Mario Testino at the christening of Princess Charlotte.

In the photo the young prince, now 3, can be seen grinning cheekily in his father's arms in the gardens at Sandringham House, the Queen's private residence in Norfolk.

Princess Charlotte will turn 2 on May 2 and is expected to spend the day at her home surrounded by family.

It's the family's last summer in Amner Hall before they swap Norfolk for London to take up permanent roles as full-time royals, so they will no doubt want to make the most of the beautiful surrounding countryside.

Expected to be a low key affair, celebrations are anticipated to include a small family party organised by her parents.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Charlotte's uncle, Prince Harry, have been spared from official engagements tomorrow.

It is unlikely that we will see her grandfather Prince Charles at Charlotte's birthday as he is expected to stay in Scotland.

Children's party planner Antonia Voss has revealed to Femail what she predicts from the princess' second birthday celebrations.

"Two is such a lovely age as children are old enough to really understand and enjoy their big day," Voss tells Femail.

"Given that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge like to dress their children in classic pieces, I would imagine they might want to mark their daughter's birthday with a party that is timeless and lots of fun for all."

Voss believes the Cambridges may also opt for a teddy bears' picnic-themed party - weather permitting - with plenty of cake, jelly and ice cream.

But given the little Princess' love for animals, she might prefer an wildlife themed party.

"A professionally run petting zoo with lambs, chicks and rabbits, tractor rides around the grounds and a puppet theatre complete with haybale seating could make for a really memorable day," says Voss.

When Charlotte's brother George celebrated his 2nd birthday, the Queen and Prince Philip reportedly dropped in from nearby Sandringham - however, the Duke of Edinburgh is expected to host a lunch at Buckingham Palace tomorrow.

This official photo released by Kensington Palace to mark the 3rd birthday of Prince George in July last year.
This official photo released by Kensington Palace to mark the 3rd birthday of Prince George in July last year.

Charlotte's first two years have seen her lead a relatively private life away from London in the family's rural Norfolk home to ensure peaceful early years.

She made an appearance on Christmas Day when she was last photographed, at a church service close to the home of her grandparents Carole and Michael Middleton in the Berkshire village of Bucklebury.

She was pictured in the arms of the Duchess when the royal party arrived at St Mark's Church in Englefield, with older brother Prince George holding the Duke's hand as they walked in. When they left, the royal children were clutching candy canes.

We are likely to next see Charlotte at the wedding of her aunt Pippa Middleton on May 20 where she and brother George will take the roles of bridesmaid and pageboy to the Duchess of Cambridge's sister.

Charlotte is a princess, but she's also shown herself to be an ordinary little girl who loves dogs, horses and blowing bubbles and isn't bothered about wearing her big brother George's hand-me-down blue woollen cardigan.

The toddler has had experience of her future role. She's a veteran of Trooping the Colour, as well as a royal tour to Canada, where her first formal duty was hosting a playdate for military children.

Charlotte's birth at 8.34am on May 2, 2015, was a moment of national celebration, which also broke Britain's constitutional mould.

This daughter of the Windsor dynasty became fourth in line to the throne, the "spare" to George, who will one day be heir. She'll stay that way until he has children of his own, a true 21st Century princess, confident and contemporary, as well as completely enchanting.

She was named Charlotte Elizabeth Diana in tribute to her grandmother Diana, Princess of Wales and her great-grandmother the Queen.

The Cambridges will be spending more time at Kensington Palace in London when William leaves his air ambulance helicopter pilot job in the summer and devotes more time to royal duties.

George will be schooled at the private Thomas's Battersea school in September and it is likely his sister will be sent to a nursery this year.