Prince George is making things official today.
The adorable little royal arrived at St. James Palace with the Duke and Duchess at 2:30 p.m. (London time) for the holy dunk that will officially welcome him to the Church of England as HRH Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge.
Apparently you don’t really count until you’re anointed while a scarlet-and-gold-clad choir sings falsetto.
Wearing a handmade replica satin-and-lace christening gown (that’ll make him nice and slippery) crafted by the Queen’s own dressmaker – the original was created in 1841 and “retired” in 2004 due to its fragile condition – the three-month-old headed into the palace with his parents, followed by the Queen, Princes Phillip, Charles and Harry, the Duchess of Cornwall, Michael and Carole Middleton, Pippa and James, the Archbishop of Canterbury and all the other vestmented people that show up at these kinds of things.
And though the ceremony is considered thoroughly modern since it’s small and Prince George is the oldest and first future monarch in modern times not to be baptized at Buckingham Palace (the Queen, Charles, William and Harry were all baptized there at 4-6 weeks old), here’s thinking St. James Palace is steeped in enough royal history to balance things out.
The Windsors’ 173-year-old Lily Font will also be used (Queen Victoria and Prince Albert commissioned the silver font for the birth of their first child, Victoria, Princess Royal, in 1840), and since ordinary holy water won’t do, little George’s head will be sprinkled with water from the River Jordan. Of course.
The 45-minute ceremony itself will go down in The Chapel Royal, an intimate space within the palace, chosen because of its special significance to the Duke of Cambridge. Diana’s coffin lay there the night before her funeral, and it’s also where Kate was confirmed before she tied the knot with Prince William.
Prince George’s godparents, revealed just six hours before the ceremony (it was all very hush hush), include just one royal and a number of close friends:
- Zara Phillips Tindall: William’s cousin is not only the queen’s granddaughter and daughter to Princess Anne the Princess Royal, but also an Olympic equestrian champion. Schmance.
- Oliver Baker: An old college friend of the couple.
- Emilia Jardine-Patterson: A high school friend of Kate’s who introduced her to William. (Good thing it turned out well.) She also helped design the family’s digs at Kensington Palace.
- Hugh, Earl Grosvenor, son of the Duke of Westminster: He’s old friends with William and Harry and apparently has no last name.
- Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton: The couple and Prince Harry’s former private secretary (2005-2012) continues to serve part-time as Principal Private Secretary and Equerry, and was very nice when I met him a few years ago. His son was also in the royal wedding.
- Julia Samuel: A close friend of Princess Diana.
- William Van Cutsem: One of William’s closest childhood friends. The Prince is also godfather to his Van Cutsem’s daughter Grace who was in the royal wedding. She was the frowny one.
After the ceremony, Prince Charles will host a veddy proper tea party at his London residence, Clarence House, where 22 guests will nosh slices of christening cake – an eight-tier, traditional, fruit-infused confection that sounds awful, taken from William and Kate’s wedding cake – and fuss over the baby no doubt.
A historic photo of the Queen and three generations of her heirs – the first photo of its kind since Queen Victoria posed for one in 1894 – will be snapped by celebrity photographer Jason Bell, and released by the palace on Thursday morning.
Photo credit: TV screengrab