London — Prince George made his first public appearance in three months today, as he arrived with his parents, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, for his christening at St. James’s Palace.
Isn’t he adorable in that photo above? He looks like he knows exactly what’s going on, and maybe even how important he is in the whole royal scheme of things. The baby prince smiled as he was shown off to family members including his great-grandparents, Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, before the royals entered the Chapel Royal. Kate wore an ivory dress designed by Alexander McQueen, the same designer who created her wedding gown.
The royals are all about history and family legacy, and the prince’s elaborate lace and satin christening gown is a replica of one made in 1841 for the christening of Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter. The little prince is in line to become king, which would also make him the supreme governor of the Church of England.
As we’ve seen with William and Kate so far, this event was relatively small, compared to the larger ceremonies that his father and grandfather had at Buckingham Palace. They seem like they’re doing a great job of respecting the royal heritage while taking some of the pomp and circumstance out of it (while also keeping the costs of events and celebrations to a reasonable amount).
George’s grandfather Prince Charles and uncle, Prince Harry, were among the select few invited to the ceremony, along with Catherine’s parents, Carole and Michael Middleton, and her siblings, James and Pippa. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Justin Welby, greeted guests entering the chapel.
The royal baby, who was born in July, has seven godparents, including:
- Prince William’s cousin Zara Tindall, daughter of Princess Anne, and close friends of the couple
- Oliver Baker, who got to know William and Catherine at St. Andrew’s University
- Emilia Jardine-Paterson, who went to school with Catherine
- William van Cutsem, a childhood friend of William
- Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, a former private secretary to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry
- Julia Samuel, who was a good friend of William’s mother, Diana, Princess of Wales
- Earl Grosvenor, son of the Duke of Westminster
That baby will be well cared for!
The replica christening gown – made by the Queen’s dressmaker, Angela Kelly – was brought into use in 2008 to help preserve the 170-year-old original, used until then for every royal christening, including those of Prince William and his father, Charles. The venue for the christening also has a special significance for Prince William. The body of his mother, Diana, rested in the Chapel Royal for five days before her funeral in 1997.
After the service, Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, held a private tea at Clarence House. The guests were served slices of christening cake, which is a tier taken from William and Catherine’s 2011 wedding cake.
In a short video posted on his website, Welby spoke of the significance of the baby prince’s baptism, which will see him “join the family of the church,” numbering almost 2 billion people around the world.
“All babies are unbelievably special, not only royal babies,” he said, adding that Prince George’s christening carries an extra significance.
“As a nation, we are celebrating the birth of someone who in due course will be the head of state. That’s extraordinary. It gives you this sense of forward looking, of the forwardness of history as well as the backwardness of history, and what a gift to have this new life and to look forward.”
As with any other infant’s baptism, Welby marked the Prince with the sign of the cross on his forehead and a splash of water on his head. The silver font used for George’s baptism has been used for every royal christening since 1841 and was filled with water from the River Jordan.
Prince George’s christening ceremony included two hymns, two lessons and two anthems, according to Kensington Palace. Prince Harry read a lesson from John 15:1-5, and his aunt Pippa Middleton read Luke 18:15-17.
The music started with a processional, Bach’s “Fantasia in G,” played on the organ. The Choir of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal, made up of six men and 10 boys, sang the anthem “Blessed Jesu! Here we Stand,” which was written for the baptism of baby George’s father, Prince William, in 1982.
The second anthem was “The Lord Bless You and Keep You” by John Rutter. The newest royal also heard the hymns “Breathe on Me, Breathe on God” and “Be Thou My Vision” before the organ played the recessional, which was C.W. Widor’s “Toccata from Symphony No. 5.”