When their beloved cocker spaniel, Lupo, died last month, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were heartbroken.
But their grief was tempered by the arrival of a new puppy, with whom the whole family is said to be “besotted.”
The new cocker spaniel, whose name has not yet been revealed, was given to the family by the Duchess’s brother, James Middleton, before Lupo died.
And ensuring it remains a family affair, the puppy is Lupo’s niece.
Mr Middleton, 33, bred his first litter of puppies from his dog Ella in 2011. He kept one, called Luna, but gave her brother Lupo to the Duchess in early 2012 after the Duke deployed for six weeks to the Falkland Islands while serving as an RAF search and rescue pilot.
Last summer, Mr Middleton, who at the time was staying with his parents at their Berkshire home, bred another litter of six puppies with Luna as their mother.
The Cambridges, along with their children Prince George, seven, Princess Charlotte, five, and Prince Louis, two, are said to have had the pick of the litter.
A friend told the Mail on Sunday: “The new puppy is adorable and the whole family are besotted.
“They were devastated when Lupo passed away, as any dog owner will understand, but got the new puppy before he died. It was hoped that a younger dog would give Lupo some company and give him a little more life and energy.”
Lupo ("wolf " in Italian) died at nine, a relatively young age for a cocker spaniel, although Kensington Palace declined to discuss the cause of death.
Watch: Prince William, Duchess Kate get a new puppy from her brother James
The sad news was announced in a rare statement on Instagram, with the couple stating: "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 very personal "W & C", short for William and Catherine.
Within an hour of the message being posted, it had garnered an astonishing 300,000 messages of support from well-wishers.
When the new litter was born, Mr Middleton and his fiancee Alizee Thevenet, 31, posted pictures of themselves with the puppies, as well as their other spaniels Ella, Inca, Luna and Zulu plus golden retriever Mabel, on Instagram. He wrote: “I am sad to see you go, and yes I might cry, but it will be with happiness as each of your new homes are bursting with love.
“You might be scared at first, that's ok. Just be yourself and you will never understand how much happiness you will bring to your new families and the people you meet. Make me proud and remember to write.”
He donated the money from the sale of the puppies to the charity Pets As Therapy, which provides therapeutic visits to care homes, hospitals and schools.
When Lupo died, Mr Middleton wrote: "Nothing can ever prepare you for the loss of a dog… 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."
He has since said that Ella, who is still alive, really helped him during a difficult battle with clinical depression.
"She saved my life," he said.
Watch: What is the Commonwealth?