For today’s christening of Princess Charlotte both Cambridge children wore iconic styles.
At Sandringham, the Queen’s country estate, the day dawned rainy, with some very heavy downpours throughout the morning and afternoon. But the sun started to peek through the clouds shortly before Kate, William, George and Charlotte’s historic walk to St. Mary Magdalene Church.
Historic because this is the closest the general public has been to a senior royal’s christening in generations.
For those curious about the distance, it is roughly a quarter-mile from Sandringham House to the church. Below, William, Kate and George; the Duchess is pushing Charlotte in the timeworn Millson Pram.
The pram has been used for decades, including for William’s uncles, Prince Andrew and Prince Edward. Kensington Palace shared a photo of the pram on Twitter.
It was the first time we have seen the family of four all together.
Well-wishers started gathering early, despite the inclement weather.
Crowd estimates ranged from 2000 – 4000 people. One of those on hand for the occasion was Laurie Crawford of the United States, seen in this Twitter photo by Ben Kendall of the UK Press Association.
More from The Daily Telegraph’s live coverage of the day’s events:
Laurie Spencer, 52, from Florida, came to Britain to attend the British Grand Prix at Silverstone with her husband. But when she discovered the christening was on this weekend, there was only one place she wanted to be.
She and her husband had paid £770 each for their tickets, but that was no concern of Laurie’s.
She said: “When I found out the christening was happening while we were here I knew I just had to be there, but there was no way my husband was. We were having dinner last night and somebody on the next table heard us talking and asked if he could have my ticket instead, so they have gone to the Grand Prix and I have come here.”
Mr. Kendall also posited a brief video of the Cambridges arriving at church.
Prince George holding fast to his father’s hand.
The guest list was short, but select. Included in the event:
- HM, the Queen and Prince Philip
- Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall
- Carole and Michael Middleton, Pippa and James Middleton
- Charlotte’s 5 godparents and spouses
- Princess Diana’s niece, Laura Fellowes & her husband, Nick Pettman
- William’s close friend James Meade and his wife Lady Laura Marsham
- Kate’s cousin Adam Middleton and his wife, Rebecca Middleton
- Kate’s friend Sophie Carter
- Another close friend of William’s, Thomas van Straubenzee, and his wife, Lady Melissa van Straubenzee
The day carried multiple references to the late Diana, Princess of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry’s mother. We share several from our christening post on sister blog, What Kate Wore.
- The infant’s name, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana
- The choice of church; St Mary Magdalene is where Diana was baptized
- One of the five godparents, Laura Fellowes, is Diana’s niece
- A music selection for today’s service, the ‘Prelude on Rhosymedre’ by Ralph Vaughn Williams, was also used at the wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles
Nanny Maria Borrallo was at the church. She is seen just to the left of the Queen in this photo, wearing the traditional Norland nanny uniform.
There are two versions of the uniform. Below left you see the navy blue ‘practical’ style; on the right, the ‘formal’ look with the heavy winter coat. Beneath the tweed coat the nannies would be wearing the dress worn by Nanny Maria for the christening.
More on the uniform from a People magazine story.
…attended the christening in the traditional uniform of Norland College, the prestigious nanny training school of which the Spanish Turrion Borrallo is a graduate.
According to the college’s web site, founder Emily Ward – who established the school in 1892 – introduced the uniform so that Norland Nurses (as the college graduates were originally known) would be recognized as professionals and “not mistaken for housemaids.”
Once inside, the service lasted just a bit under 30 minutes. Following, we share a few fast facts about today’s function:
- The water for the baptism was held in the Lily Font, a piece dating back 170 years. From the Daily Mirror:
She will be baptised in the Lily Font, which stands at 17 inches high, is made from silver, and is so valuable it is usually kept alongside the Crown Jewels in the Tower of London.
It was made on the orders of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for the christening of their first daughter Princess Victoria in 1841 and has been used for every royal christening since, except one.
To anyone’s knowledge, this is the first time the Lily Font has been outside of London.
- A tidbit about the music from People magazine.
William and Kate chose two hymns for the service: “Praise to the Lord, The Almighty,” which was sung in Westminster Abbey at the 60th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth and “Come Down, O Love Divine”.
During the service there was a short rain shower, but the skies cleared again, allowing the hood of the pram to be pushed back so everyone could see Princess Charlotte.
- Here is a portion of the Archbishop’s homily:
It seems that different forms of ambition are hard wired into almost all of us. At a baptism our ambitions are rightly turned into hopes and prayers for the child, today for Princess Charlotte. Everyone wants something for their children. At our best we seek beauty, not necessarily of form, but of life.
Beauty is the implied prayer of the baptism service, beauty of life which brings true and eternal greatness. In such times as ours, those who suffer, such as the wounded or bereaved in Tunisia and other places, need lives of beauty around them, lives that share healing and hope, offering to all around them, both in times of light and darkness, a vision of a Christ-filled future.
Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was in the iconic christening gown worn by her brother George for his christening in October 2013.
The heirloom piece is a replica of the silk, satin and lace christening gown modeled after Queen Victoria’s wedding gown, and worn by royal babies from 1841 to 2008. The vintage piece became quite fragile over the years, and Angela Kelly, the Queen’s dressmaker and trusted aide, was put in charge of creating a replica. Below, Prince Harry wearing the original gown for his baptism in 1984, with Prince William in the forefront of the photo.
And a look at both George and Charlotte in the exquisite replica gown.
Kate calming Charlotte, who was a little weepy when she arrived at the church.
Prince George’s outfit also had a reference to Diana, for it is almost identical to what William wore when he visited his mother and new brother, Prince Harry, at the Lindo Wing in 1984.
Both pieces are a lightweight, soft cotton. The two-piece set was carried at Childrensalon, but it is now sold out. The top has a Peter Pan collar with traditional hand-smocking across the chest and decorative trim at the cuffs and collar.
The shorts are fully lined, and fastened to the top with buttons, so the shirt doesn’t ride up and show above the waistline.
The set was originally priced at $132.35 (£85), but most recently it was priced at $93.43 (£60), a 25% savings. Although the ensemble is sold out at Childrensalon, Rachel Riley is doing another run of the set; it can be pre-ordered here for $189.
George accessorized with his trusty ‘Jo’ First Walking Shoes from Start-Rite.
The navy leather shoe is sold out at Start-Rite, but it *is* offered in very limited sizing at Boni Classic Children’s Shoes. This image shows the shoe’s textured sole, as well as some of the mud that George walked through following today’s rain.
Both Rachel Riley and Start-Rite have clearly become ‘go to’ brands for the Duchess when it comes to dressing Prince George. The young Prince charmed
The family leaving following the service, heading back for a celebratory tea, as well as a formal portrait session with photographer Mario Testino.
George looked darling and the crowds were charmed by his expressive face and lively demeanor. More from The Mirror’s coverage of the christening:
All eyes were on the adorable tot who proudly held Prince William’s hand while strolling up to the ceremony without a care in the world.
Despite dozens of distractions from the watching public, the well-behaved pint-sized prince managed to make the short journey without stopping once.
The nod to his father’s outfit at the Lindo Wing was a lovely touch. At times the Prince looked just a bit nonplussed by all of the activity and crowds. It’s a lot for a little guy to handle. (This is what I call the scamp look.)
George’s little sister just before she is lifted from the pram by Kate and carried into the church for her christening.
We leave you with this image of Prince George working on his royal wave after the christening.
- The Daily Mail’s article with loads of photos is here
- The Mirror’s story focusing on George’s outfit is here
- For a look at the history of royals and prams, click here to see The Royal Post‘s series of reports on the topic
- The Telegraph‘s photo gallery is here
- The Express has a slideshow of royal christening gowns here
- Wales Online’s story and photo gallery may be seen here
- Just Jared’s sizable photo gallery is here
- A Sky News story is here
- You can read the text of Archbishop Welby’s homily by clicking here