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The day belonged to Princess Charlotte Christening, but the inspiration was pure Diana, Princess of Wales
From the choice of godparents to the choice of music, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made sure the memory of Princess Charlotte’s late grandmother was centre-stage.
Having chosen to hold their daughter’s christening at the church of St. Mary Magdalene, Sandringham, where the Princess of Wales was baptized, the couple chose Diana’s niece, Laura Fellowes, as one of five godparents named on the day.
And that was only the start of the homage to the Duke’s late mother, whose name, of course, would be one of those with which two-month-old Charlotte was christened.
The music included Vaughan Williams’s Prelude on Rhosymedre, used at their wedding as processional music and in the wedding of the Prince and Princess of Wales in 1981.
Even Prince George’s outfit evoked memories of the grandmother he never met. His red shorts and embroidered white shirt were the nearest possible matches for the outfit worn by Prince William when he was taken to see his mother and newborn brother Prince Harry in hospital in 1984. Kensington Palace confirmed it was no coincidence.
On an occasion otherwise laden with tradition, the Duke and Duchess sprang a surprise with their choice of godparents. No member of the Royal family made it on to an informal list of friends and relatives. The Duke’s cousin Ms. Fellowes and the Duchess’s cousin Adam Middleton were joined by Thomas van Straubenzee and James Meade, school friends of the Duke who made speeches at his wedding, and the Duchess’s friend Sophie Carter.
Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, favourites to be chosen, did not even make it to the ceremony as only close family, godparents and their spouses were invited. Speculation that Princess Beatrice missed out because of a supposed clash of personalities between the Duke and her boyfriend Dave Clark will only gather pace.
From then on, it was a classically stage-managed royal occasion. The Duke and Duchess walked from Sandringham House to the church, with the Duchess pushing Princess Charlotte in a Millsons pram used by the Queen for her two youngest children, Princes Andrew and Edward.
They were joined by just 20 people, excluding the organist and choir. The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall were the only other Royal family members; the Middletons were represented by the Duchess’s parents Michael and Carole and siblings Pippa and James. Apart from the five godparents and four spouses (Miss Carter is single) the only others were those doing a job: the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, who conducted the christening, the Rev Canon Jonathan Riviere, Rector of the Sandringham group of parishes, and Prince George’s nanny Maria Borrallo.
In his homily the Archbishop referred to one of Princess Charlotte’s ancestors, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, who was sainted and buried in the Holy Land after being murdered by the Bolsheviks in Russia in 1918. A grandmother of Queen Victoria, she sold her possessions to found a charity in Moscow and joined a convent. The Archbishop spoke of her “beauty of character”, and referred to families of the 30 British victims of the Tunisia terror attack needing such “lives of beauty around them”.
The Duke and Duchess chose the hymns Praise to the Lord, The Almighty and Come Down, O Love Divine, and Mr Meade read the lesson from Matthew 18, verses 1-5.
The baptism itself was carried out using water brought to Norfolk from the River Jordan, where Christ was baptised, and using the Lily Font, part of the Crown Jewels brought from the Tower of London, where it has been kept since 1841, when it was first used for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter Princess Victoria. Princess Charlotte’s christening robe also owed its design to Princess Victoria; her silk and lace robe was used for every royal baby for 163 years until it was deemed too fragile in 2004 and replaced with a replica.
After the half-hour service guests retired to Sandringham for afternoon tea, including christening cake taken from a tier of the Duke and Duchess’s wedding cake. There was a last nod to the Princess of Wales as her favourite photographer, Mario Testino, took the official photographs, to be released this week.
Source: news nationalpost com