The ceremony will likely take place in July before Queen Elizabeth heads to Scotland for her annual summer vacation, insiders tell PEOPLE

By Simon Perry
June 01, 2015 10:25 AM
John Stillwell/WPA Pool/Getty; ACE/INF

Princess Charlotte is turning the big one (month)!

The littlest princess hasn’t been seen since her official debut outside St. Mary’s Hospital in London on May 2. But she already has another big event on her calendar: her christening.

Insiders tell PEOPLE they expect the ceremony to take place before Charlotte’s great-grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, heads north to Scotland for her annual summer break in late July.

The palace has no formal guidance on the date, but late summer would put it within the three months or so that most couples ideally like to baptize their children.

Like Prince George’s christening in October 2013, the ceremony could take place at the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace in London. But there is also precedent for it being held a short drive away from the couple’s country home, Anmer Hall: Prince William‘s cousin, Princess Eugenie, was christened at St. Mary Magdalene church on the Queen’s Sandringham estate in December 1990.

Beyond the Queen’s summer vacation plans, there is another key reason to have the christening relatively quickly – so little Charlotte can be sure of fitting into the traditional christening robe that royal babies have been wearing in recent years.

The hand-made gown was designed by the Queen’s assistant, Angela Kelly, and Buckingham Palace’s team of dressmakers in 2008 based on a gown commissioned by Queen Victoria in the 19th century. That original one – used by Diana for William and Harry and other royal grandchildren up to Lady Louise Wessex in 2004 – has gone into storage.

The ceremony, to be led by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, would take place over the silver 17-inch high Lily Font made in 1841 for the christening of Princess Royal Victoria. The font can be moved to any church for the service.

If William and Kate follow their practice for when George was baptized, it’s also at the christening that the godparents for the new princess will be named.

Unlike the live-streamed Monaco baptism of the twins of Prince Albert and Princess Charlene, Charlotte’s christening will be a closed-door affair. The only photos that will emerge are likely to be those of the couple and their families entering the chapel and then a series of official shots taken afterwards like the formal portraits released of Prince George and his family.

Before any christening, we can expect to see some family pictures released by William and Kate. Whether they are taken by Kate’s dad Michael Middleton remains to be seen.

Those charming images were shot in the back garden at the Middleton family home in Bucklebury and showed George in his parents’ arms with their cocker spaniel Lupo by their side.

Like Charlotte, Kate hasn’t been seen since May 2. The royal mum’s next public appearance is likely to be on June 13, when she may join William at Trooping the Colour, the annual parade on what is known as the Queen’s official birthday.

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