Why Meghan Markle and Prince Harry Decided to Have a Private Christening for Archie
Even though Meghan and Harry have been in the spotlight since they made their debut as a couple, they want to make sure some aspects of their family life remain private.
Just as they decided to keep the plans around the arrival of their baby boy private, they’ve also decided to make his royal christening a private affair for close friends and family.
The gathering was attended by around 25 close family members and friends, including her mother Doria Ragland as well as Prince William and Kate Middleton, who wore a pink Stella McCartney dress. Royal christenings are typically private, with only close family, friends and godparents in attendance.
As seen in a family portrait shared on Harry and Meghan’s Instagram account, Prince Charles and wife Camila, Duchess of Cornwall were also in attendance with Princess Diana’s sisters Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes.
In contrast, Prince William and Kate Middleton publicly announced all three of their children’s christenings and allowed for photos to be taken on each occasion. But seeing as William will one day be monarch, the Cambridges have less room to deviate from tradition.
While the Duke and Duchess of Sussex may be moving away from modern royal baby traditions, it’s for a relatable reason: so they can celebrate some of these milestones privately as a new family.
Just ahead of Archie’s birth on May 6, the couple released a statement, saying: “The Duke and Duchess look forward to sharing the exciting news with everyone once they have had an opportunity to celebrate privately as a new family.”
“It is completely understandable,” royal author Ingrid Seward told PEOPLE at the time, adding that the frenzy surrounding the births of royal babies has become “too much of a circus.”
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As part of their efforts to raise Archie as normally as possible, they even moved out of Kensington Palace, which Harry has called a “fishbowl,” to the countryside of Windsor. They also decided not to give their son an official royal title.
Moving to Windsor “is a really healthy thing to do,” a longtime friend told PEOPLE, noting that the rigid constraints of Kensington Palace are not for all: “I presume it must be nice to get out and away. Without neighbors who are all either family or staff [at Kensington Palace], they will now have their own thing.”