Prince George's Christening: Meet the Players
THE PARENTS & CHILD
Following a centuries-old tradition, HRH Prince George of Cambridge was baptized an Anglican in a private ceremony Wednesday at St. James's Palace, with proud parents Prince William and Duchess Catherine by his side. The 3-month-old baby, born July 22, wore a replica of the royal christening robe, made by Angela Kelly, dressmaker to the Queen. The original robe, of fine Honiton lace lined with white satin, was made in 1841 for the christening of Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, Victoria, Princess Royal, and was subsequently worn for all royal christenings, including those of the Queen, her children and her grandchildren (with the exception of James, Viscount Severn).
Prince George will have no shortage of love in his life: The lucky little guy has seven doting godparents, including William's cousin Zara Tindall (inset), a mom-to-be and also the only royal in the bunch; William and Harry's former private secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton (top left); Earl "Hugh" Grosvenor (top center), the son of one of William's godparents; the couple's college friend Oliver Baker (top right); mutual friend Emilia Jardine-Paterson (bottom left); family friend William van Cutsem (bottom center); and Princess Diana friend and charity founder Julia Samuel (bottom right). According to a royal source, the godparents were picked because William and Kate "wanted to include family and friends and reflect their life on both sides."
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby presided over the private, 45-minute ceremony with the aid of a special family heirloom: the Lily Font, a silver-gilt baptismal water basin that was commissioned by Queen Victoria and has been used by royals since 1841. In a short film released prior to the event, Welby noted the significance of the royal christening, a major milestone for the heir to the throne. "As a nation we're celebrating the birth of someone who in due course will be the head of state. That's extraordinary," he said, also noting, "All babies are unbelievably special, not only royal babies."
Days before the christening, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge announced that London- and New York-based photographer Jason Bell would helm the official portraits of the day. An in-demand celebrity lensman, Bell has snapped stars like Kate Hudson and Emily Blunt, and many of his works have been acquired by England's National Portrait Gallery.
Prince George has four doting grandparents in Carole and Michael Middleton, and Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. As for his royal half, "My father is over the moon to be a grandfather," Prince Harry said of Prince Charles's new role. The proud grandfather and wife Camilla were present at the chapel door prior to the ceremony, underscoring the continuity of the monarchy as guests arrived. The Middletons, who entered the chapel following the godparents, are equally enthusiastic. "He's absolutely beautiful," Carole remarked to the press upon visiting the newborn after his birth. Notably, the christening chapel site, St. James's Palace, is where the body of Princess Diana, who would have been grandmother to Prince George, was laid to rest for a week after her death in 1997. Following the christening, Prince Charles and Camilla hosted a party at Clarence House, where Catherine and William served a tier of the cake from their 2011 wedding.
One of Prince George's first visitors at Kensington Palace was his great-grandmother Queen Elizabeth, who was described as being "delighted" with the news of the newest Cambridge – the Queen spoke with William and Kate upon arriving at the chapel with her husband Prince Philip, another role model for the prince. In fact, the "Louis" part of George Alexander Louis (the prince's full name) is reportedly a tribute to Prince Philip, whose grandfather was Prince Louis Alexander of Battenberg. At the ceremony, Kate greeted George's great-grandfather with a kiss on both cheeks and a small curtsy.
THE AUNT & UNCLES
Kate's sister Pippa Middleton and William's brother Prince Harry read two lessons, from Luke ch. 18 and St. John ch. 15 during the christening. Pippa has already spent time taking care of the little prince at Kensington Palace. Brother James Middleton stays more under the radar, but if George is looking for a fellow little rascal he's found one in Uncle Harry. Of course, William's brother understands that his role in his nephew's life is "to make sure he has a good upbringing, to keep him out of harm's way and make sure he has fun."