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Prince George, 6, Photographed Beside Prince William in the Front Seat of a Car — But Is It Legal?

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On Wednesday, Prince George arrived with his father Prince William at the annual Christmas lunch hosted by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace. But because the 6-year-old was sitting in the front seat beside William in the car, many were left wondering if it was legal.

According to the U.K.’s child car seat laws, children from 3 years to 4’5” tall who are under 12 years — which would include George — must “use an appropriate child restraint when traveling in front seat.” George was reportedly in a booster seat.

The country’s laws also state that children of the same age that are seated in the backseat must also be put in a child-restrained seat, if seat belts are fitted. Once a child is more than 4’5”, they must then use a seat belt, although the U.K prefers them to use a booster seat until they reach 5′.

Tim Rooke/Shutterstock
Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

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However, there are several exceptions to these rules. Should an appropriate child restraint not be available, children over 3 years old can travel in the rear using an adult seatbelt. This exception is for emergencies and unplanned situations only.

If a child between 3 years and 4’5” tall is traveling in a licensed taxi, such as a private hire vehicles or minicabs, they must sit in the rear and wear a seatbelt. Children younger than 3 must sit in the rear with an adult seatbelt should a child restraint not be available.

Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty
Dominic Lipinski/PA Images via Getty

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Children under the age of 3 — which would include George’s younger brother Prince Louis, 1 — must use an appropriate child restraint in the front or rear of a vehicle.

It is illegal to carry the child in a rearward-facing child seat in the front if there is an active front passenger airbag. The airbag must be turned off or the child seat must be placed in the rear.

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While George arrived to the annual Christmas lunch with his father, Kate Middleton, with daughter Princess Charlotte, 4, and youngest son Prince Louis in the backseat.

A source told PEOPLE that both George and Charlotte are set to make their Christmas Day debut this year alongside parents Prince William and Kate — but that things could always change. Prince Louis made his big debut at Trooping the Colour this year, but he’s likely too young to join his parents and siblings on Christmas.