The christening of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana took place at the St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham.
The 64-day-old princess made her first appearance since her birth at a very special event – her christening. The Archbishop of Canterbury traveled to Norfolk especially to preside over the ceremony at St. Mary Magdalene Church, the local Church of England near the Queen’s country estate at Sandringham.
The Cambridge family made the 400 meter walk to St. Mary Magdalene Church amongst hundreds of crowds awaiting a peek at the little princess. The church was first built in the 16th century, and since then it has hosted many royal events. The Queen attends mass every Sunday she is in residence at Sandringham, and the royal family attends Christmas services there. In a touching note of remembrance, Diana, Princess of Wales was also christened at St. Mary Magdalene.
The traditional ceremony is a very private affair, lasting approximately 30 minutes. The Archbishop of Canterbury will lead the small congregation in prayer, perform a brief mass and baptize the princess into the Christian faith. Hymns and readings by the family and godparents are also expected.
The hymns, chosen by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, were “Praise the Lord, The Almighty,” and “Come Down, O Love Divine” and the lesson was Matthew 18:1-5, read by James Meade. The Sandringham Church Choir performed at the service, singing “I will Sing With The Spirit” and “God Be In My Head.”
Princess Charlotte will be baptized in the historic Lily Font. The 19th century basin was commissioned for the christening of Queen Victoria’s first child, Princess Victoria. The gilded Lily Font is filled with Holy Water from the River Jordan, a privileged tradition for all royal babies – including Prince George!
Earlier in the day, Kensington Palace announced Princess Charlotte’s five godparents. They are:
- Miss Sophie Carter, a close friend of Catherine’s since her time at Marlborough
- Mr. James Meade, a close friend of William and Catherine
- Mr. Adam Middleton, Catherine’s cousin and close friend to the Cambridge family
- The Honourable Laura Fellowes, the daughter of Princess Diana’s sister, Cynthia Jane Fellowes
- Mr. Thomas van Straubenzee, a long-time friend of Williams, and a close friend to the Cambridge family
Also in attendance at today’s ceremony and reception were Her Majesty the Queen, Prince Philip, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Mr. and Mrs. Middleton, Pippa Middleton, and James Middleton.
Princess Charlotte wore the traditional royal christening robe. The robe worn by the princess was created by Angela Kelly in the early 2000s. The gown is an exact replica of the original royal christening gown, which was created in 1841 for the christening of Queen Victoria’s first child. The original gown has been preserved, but the new replica is just as beautiful. The dress is made from exquisite Honition lace and is lined in satin.
The Duchess of Cambridge wore a cream coat by Alexander McQueen – a bespoke piece made for the occasion. She accessorized with a new, bespoke hat by Jane Taylor and her Russell and Bromley pumps. For jewels, Kate chose a Mappin & Webb “Empress” necklace and new matching earrings – as spotted by The Royal Spectator on Twitter!
Following the christening, the Queen hosted a small reception at Sandringham for the guests of the christening. A short walk back to the Queen’ estate provided another opportunity to wave to well-wishers. At the reception, tea was served along with christening cake – a layer of cake from William and Catherine’s 2011 wedding. During the reception, the official christening portraits were taken by Mario Testino. They are expected to be released tomorrow.