The christening of Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge takes place today, at 3:00 PM British Standard Time at the Chapel Royal in St. James’ Palace. You can view video of the event here.
The ceremony took place in the Chapel Royal of St. James Palace, the official office of Her Majesty the Queen and previously the official office of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. The chapel is steeped in history, most famously being the site of the wedding ceremony for Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The small chapel will seat around 40 people in four pews. The pews are coated in luxurious, extra-cushioned velvet along with the prayer kneeler benches, making them lavishly comfortable.
Earlier this week, the Archbishop of Caterbury spoke about the christening saying “People around the world celebrated the birth of Prince George. Now we’re celebrating the next hugely important moment. I’ll mark Prince George with the sign of the cross on his forehead, a sign by which we understand this person belongs to God. There will be great times, there will be tough times, there always are with children – you will be bringing God into the middle of it all.”
The ancient, traditional ceremony lasts approximately 45 minutes. Although the ceremony is extremely private, we can predict what occurs behind those hallowed walls.The Archbishop of Canterburyl who presides over the ceremony, leads the small congregation in prayer, performs a short mass, and baptizes Prince George into the Christian faith. Prince George will be baptized in the historic Lily Font; the Lily Font was commissioned in 1840 for the christening of Queen Victoria’s first child, Princess Victoria. The gilded basin is filled with holy water from the River Jordan, a privileged tradition for all royal babies.
As do all royal babies, Prince George wore the traditional “Royal Christening Gown.” The original gown was commissioned in 1840 for Princess Victoria, the first child of Queen Victoria. The gown was made of Honiton lace and Spitalfields white silk, inspired by Queen Victoria’s wedding gown. This original gown was retired in 2004 when the Queen commissioned her dressmaker, Angela Kelly, to create an exact replica. It was first worn at James, Viscount Severn’s christening in 2008.
Traditionally, royal babies have six godparents – three women, and three men. There are no rules as to how the godparents are chosen. In the Christian tradition, godparents are family or friends in the child’s life to help raise them, guide them and support them in their faith. The godparents are present during the baptism and often say a special blessing, dedicating themselves to this duty. While there was much speculation on William and Catherine’s choices of godparents, it was kept heavily under wraps.
Clarence House issued a press release with details of the event, especially the godparents. The list of godparents is as follows:
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked the following people to be Godparents to Prince George:
Mr Oliver Baker (Oliver Baker attended the University of St Andrews with The Duke and Duchess)
Mrs David Jardine-Paterson (Emilia Jardine-Paterson attended Marlborough College with The Duchess)
Earl Grosvenor (Hugh) (Earl Grosvenor is the son of The Duke of Westminster)
Mr Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton (Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton served as Private Secretary to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry from 2005-2012 and continues to serve part-time as Principal Private Secretary and Equerry)
The Hon Mrs Michael Samuel (Julia Samuel was a close friend of The Princess of Wales)
Mrs Michael Tindall (Zara Tindall is The Duke of Cambridge’s cousin)
Mr William van Cutsem (William van Cutsem is a childhood friend of The Duke of Cambridge)
In addition to the seven godparents and their spouses, the only other guests are The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, Prince Harry, Michael and Carole Middleton, Pippa Middleton and James Middleton – bringing the total guest count to an intimate 22 guests.
After the ceremony, the guests will attend a luncheon to celebrate the christening. Prince Charles and Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, will host the reception, which takes place at Clarence House. Shortly before the festivities, William, Catherine, Prince George, and other family and friends will pose for obligatory, traditional photographs to commemorate the event. It was announced that Jason Bell, renowned photographer, will be capturing the historic event. At the private reception guests will enjoy a luncheon meal along with the top two tiers of Catherine and William’s wedding cake. Kate and Wills followed tradition by saving the top tiers of the traditional wedding cake for this very special event.
This is a truly wonderful and historic day. To commemorate this event, the Royal Mint has issued special coins while the Historic Royal Palace organization has created commemorative china pieces. Many other organizations celebrated with souvenirs, special tea services, and general merriment.The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked that well-wishers donate to children’s charities in lieu of gifts, such as East Anglia Children’s Hospice, Child Bereavement UK, or Absolute Return for Kids. Not since Prince George’s birth, a mere three months ago, have we been this excited!
Royal watchers camped out overnight, in hopes of catching a glimpse of the royals entering or leaving St. James Palace. The live stream feels very nostalgic from our Great Kate Wait days, although this time there is something more interesting to look at. Another throwback from the GKW was Terry Hutt. Terry is a lifelong monarchist and royal watcher, showing up at numerous major royal events all decked out in the Union Jack. Terry arrived yet again, sharing a catchy tune for the day! Other royal watchers joined him with signs and special ensemble.
William, Kate and George arrived by royal convoy around 9:30. The guests, godparents, and royals arrived shortly afterwards. Kate wore a custom McQueen gown in ivory with peplum and ruffle details. She accessorized with a matching new fascinator by Jane Taylor Millinery aptly named “Georgie”, described by the designer as “a sophisticated sinamay beret with delicate silk organza rose and classic veiling trim.” Her earrings were her Kiki McDonough citrine drops. Kate paired the outfit with her nude Russell and Bromley Park Ave pumps.
Here are the details from the service, according to Clarence House:
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen two hymns, two lessons and two anthems for the christening of their son, Prince George.
The Hymns are Breathe on Me, Breath of God and Be Thou My Vision.
The lessons are from St. Luke ch. 18, verses 15-17, read by Miss Pippa Middleton and St. John ch. 15, verses 1-5, read by Prince Harry.
The anthems are Blessed Jesu! Here we Stand (Richard Popplewell) and The Lord Bless You and Keep You (John Rutter).
Blessed Jesu! Here we Stand was written for Prince William’s baptism on 4th August 1982.
The anthems will be performed by The Choir of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal.
The Processional Organ Music will be J. S. Bach’s Fantasia in G (BWV 572).
The Recessional Organ Music will be C. M. Widor’s Toccata from Symphony No 5.
The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, will baptise Prince George. He will be supported by The Dean of The Chapel Royal (The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Richard Chartres) and The Sub-Dean of the Chapel Royal (The Reverend Prebendary William Scott).
The ceremony lasted a mere thirty minutes from entrance to exit. The Duchess of Cambridge carried her darling son out of the chapel and other guests followed. Everyone will now walk to Clarence House for a short reception!
Video of the Royals entering the chapel: