The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were devastated to lose their family dog Lupo recently – but friends say it was even harder explaining it to their eldest child.
An insider tells Woman's Day that seven-year-old Prince George was "desperately sad" after spending his entire life with the black cocker spaniel, which Kate was often seen walking in Kensington Gardens.
"Poor little man didn't understand what had happened," says a source.
"He adored that dog."
Lupo was a gift to the couple from Kate's younger brother James Middleton, who breeds cocker spaniels, not long after they married in April 2011.
The Cambridges announced the tragic death of their beloved family pet earlier in the month.
In a rare personal statement, William and Catherine wrote: "Very sadly last weekend our dear dog, Lupo, passed away. He has been at the heart of our family for the past nine years and we will miss him so much."
They signed off the message with a simple, "W & C."
Back in 2014, Lupo appeared in one of the first family portraits of William and Kate after they welcomed Prince George.
Snapped by Kate's father Michael Middleton, the photo was set in the Middleton's sun-soaked back garden in Berkshire. Capturing an intimate moment of a sleeping George cradled in his mum's arms with William by their side.
Kate's brother James also penned his own tribute to the dog.
"It is with great sadness that Lupo, the beloved dog of my sister Catherine and her family has passed away. Lupo was the son of Ella, brother to Zulu, Inka & Luna. He was 9 years old," the 33-year-old wrote.
He wrote of a dogs incredible ability to empathise and emotionally connect with a human, providing support where its needed.
"Nothing can ever prepare you for the loss of a dog. For those who have never had a dog, it might be hard to understand the loss. However for those who have loved a dog know the truth: a dog is not just a pet; it is a member of the family, a best friend, a loyal companion, a teacher and a therapist."