Hands raised to his face with joy, he was simply expressing the excitement of a little boy getting a ride in a helicopter.
But an article on a leading LGBT website said the shot of Prince George has turned him into a ‘gay icon’.
Accompanied by the picture, the story on PinkNews said: ‘Prince George has become a gay icon overnight. The monarch-to-be has always been cute and well-dressed, but one day before his fourth birthday, a photo of him excitedly holding his face changed everything.
‘At least, that’s what the people – sorry, his subjects – are saying.’
It continued: ‘The image of the prince expressing his happiness in this way led many to declare their support of George for a whole new position: gay icon.’
Northern Irish politician Jim Allister, leader of the ultra-conservative Traditional Unionist Voice (TUV) party, yesterday demanded an apology.
He said: ‘Sexualising a young child in this fashion is entirely inappropriate. To take an image of a little boy and to fantasise of him being an icon for a life defined by sex is outrageous and sick.’
PinkNews chief executive Benjamin Cohen said he had no intention of removing the article, which he said was ‘tongue-in-cheek’ and based on the comments of ‘hundreds’ of social media users.
Tweets that featured alongside the original article, included: ‘Prince George is already a bigger gay icon to me than Boy George’.
Mr Cohen told the Mail: ‘At no point did PinkNews state that Prince George is a “gay icon” – the article merely reported on a large volume of social media posts saying that he was.
‘The original article was published on July 25 with the headline: “People think Prince George looks fabulous in this new photo”.’
Some readers objected to the Twitter postings. One said: ‘Stop looking at a 4yr old & trying to predict his sexual preference.’ Another wrote: ‘Openly flamboyant? He’s a CHILD!’
The photo was taken during a royal tour of Germany last month by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
Earlier this year the Duke became the first member of the Royal Family to pose for the cover of gay magazine Attitude. Kensington Palace declined to comment last night.