The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have shared a photo of their daughter, Princess Charlotte, holding a butterfly, to urge people to do their part in butterfly conservation.

The image of the six-year-old cradling a Red Admiral was shared on the Duke and Duchess' social media accounts.

The photos were taken by the Duke and Duchess near their family home in Norfolk, they also included Peacock butterflies on lilac.

The Cambridges are taking part in the annual Big Butterfly Count run by the charity Butterfly Conservation.

They posted: "We wanted to share these beautiful Peacock and Red Admiral butterflies as part of the Big Butterfly Count initiative taking place across the UK."

Eastern Daily Press: Princess Charlotte holding the Red AdmiralPrincess Charlotte holding the Red Admiral (Image: PA/Instagram: @dukeandduchessofcambridge)

They added: "Butterfly Conservation are encouraging us all to count these incredible creatures because not only are they beautiful creatures to be around but they are also extremely important.

"Butterflies are vital parts of the ecosystem as both pollinators and components of the food chain."

"Hopefully you can beat last year's total @savebutterflies!"

The Cambridges' post received 3,200 likes on Twitter within 25 minutes.

The count began on July 16 and is due to conclude on Sunday, August 15. Participants can submit sightings of butterflies during the count period via the charity's app.

Conservationists fear numbers will be badly hit this year, with a warm April, followed by a cold snap in May, and a washout summer impacting numbers.