A ROYAL Cel­e­bra­tion

The lit­tlest royal sails through his chris­ten­ing as the Cam­bridges de­but as a fam­ily of five

WHO - - Prince Louis Official Christening - By Phil Boucher

Ar­riv­ing at the doors of the Chapel Royal in­side St James’s Palace un­der bright sum­mer skies, the Duchess of Cam­bridge beamed with hap­pi­ness as she looked down at Prince Louis swad­dled in her arms. To her left, Prince Wil­liam led Prince Ge­orge and Princess Char­lotte by the hand, while slightly be­hind Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sus­sex—daz­zling in an olive-green Ralph Lau­ren dress and match­ing hat by Stephen Jones—also joined fin­gers in an open dis­play of new­ly­wed bliss (the cou­ple re­port­edly gave Prince Louis a rare first-edi­tion copy of A. A. Milne’s Win­nie-the-pooh, dat­ing to 1926 and val­ued at $14,000). With Prince Charles and Camilla hav­ing led the pro­ces­sion into the chapel, the fam­ily joined the guests and god­par­ents in a 40-minute ser­vice led by the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, Justin Welby, which was heavy with royal tra­di­tions. Like his brother, sis­ter and fa­ther, the 11-week-old, fifth-in-line to the throne, was bap­tised with wa­ter from

the River Jor­dan in the Lily Font—a sil­ver bap­tismal com­mis­sioned by Queen Vic­to­ria and Prince Al­bert in 1840 af­ter the birth of their first child, Vic­to­ria, Princess Royal. Louis also wore the same cream lace and white satin robe worn by his sib­lings—which is it­self an ex­act replica of the robe made for Queen Vic­to­ria’s el­dest daugh­ter in 1841.

In fact, just about the only break from pro­to­col was that the Queen, 92, and Prince Philip, 97, didn’t at­tend the ser­vice. The of­fi­cial word from Buck­ing­ham Palace is that the de­ci­sion was taken “some time ago” be­cause the Queen has a full week cel­e­brat­ing the cen­te­nary of the RAF and prepar­ing for the ar­rival of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump on July 13. “She needs some down­time—be­cause I think she has been over­do­ing it,” a fam­ily friend said. “A chris­ten­ing is a chris­ten­ing,” for­mer royal press sec­re­tary Dickie Ar­biter tells WHO. “There’s a cer­tain amount of peo­ple tweet­ing ‘ Why isn’t the Queen or Prince Philip there?’ Well, the Queen is 92 and she’s out at Wind­sor and Philip is 97, so I think they’re prob­a­bly right in stay­ing put. They have not been snubbed, it’s just a cou­ple of very el­derly peo­ple who have de­cided to not travel into Lon­don.” Draw­ing on his in­side knowl­edge of royal events, Ar­biter de­scribes the chris­ten­ing as “A happy fam­ily af­fair. Ev­ery­body who should be there is there.”

Sadly, for a crowd of up to 2,000 peo­ple wait­ing pa­tiently in the Lon­don sun for a glimpse of the royal fam­ily, this didn’t in­clude them. Like all royal chris­ten­ings this was a pri­vate event, so other than a glimpse of Ca­role Mid­dle­ton in a Range

Rover, the on­look­ers were firmly locked out of pro­ceed­ings—not that any­one minded too much.

“It’s nice for them to do some­thing pri­vate. It keeps peo­ple in­ter­ested doesn’t it?” Aus­tralian ex-pat Marie Mur­phy—whose mum lives in Emer­ald, Queens­land—told WHO out­side the Tu­dor walls of the Palace. “I mean, we just had the Troop­ing the Colour, and a huge royal wed­ding, so I think they’re en­ti­tled to a lit­tle bit of pri­vacy now.” Hol­i­day­mak­ers Stephen and Caro­line Lock, from Mel­bourne, agreed. “We came down to try and see the fam­ily,” they said. “That ob­vi­ously hasn’t worked out, but it’s still been a great day out with a lovely at­mos­phere.”

Also mak­ing sure the chris­ten­ing of her baby

brother re­mained pri­vate, an earnest Princess Char­lotte—in a scene-steal­ing mo­ment—was caught on cam­era telling pho­tog­ra­phers, “You can’t come in” as she walked into the chapel hold­ing onto Prince Wil­liam’s hand.

Kate, Wil­liam and their guests worked their way through a care­fully crafted ser­vice that in­cluded hymns “O Je­sus, I Have Promised” and “Lord of All Hope­ful­ness”, while god­par­ents Lucy Mid­dle­ton and Guy Pelly read the lessons. And in a ro­man­tic twist, a song com­posed for Wil­liam and Kate’s 2011 wed­ding by John Rut­ter was on the or­der of ser­vice. A glow­ing Kate ap­peared de­lighted

“Kate has blos­somed” — royal bi­og­ra­pher In­grid Seward

with her third child’s big day. “She has blos­somed and looked more con­tent, beam­ing with hap­pi­ness,” notes royal bi­og­ra­pher In­grid Seward of Majesty mag­a­zine. “Kate is hugely du­ti­ful, but she is quite strong and lead­ing the way be­hind the scenes.” In an­other nod to the cou­ple’s wed­ding day, fam­ily and guests re­turned to Clarence House for chris­ten­ing cake— ac­tu­ally a tier taken from Wil­liam and Kate’s wed­ding cake. “I hope they had it stored in the re­frig­er­a­tor,” joked Mur­phy on hear­ing the news. “Could you imag­ine!”

Tak­ing it in his stride: 11-week-old Louis Arthur Charles on his July 9 chris­ten­ing day.

The Duchess of Sus­sex, with Prince Harry, re­vis­ited the chapel where she was bap­tised ear­lier this year.

A re­laxed Cather­ine with Prince Louis chat­ted to the Arch­bishop of Can­ter­bury, Justin Welby, be­fore en­ter­ing the chapel.

With the or­der of ser­vice un­der her arm, Princess Char­lotte eyed pho­tog­ra­phers, telling them “You can’t come in.”

A happy Cather­ine couldn’t keep her eyes off her newly chris­tened baby, Louis, while Prince Wil­liam held tight to Ge­orge and Char­lotte as they left the chapel.

Grand­par­ents Charles and Camilla en­tered the chapel ahead of Wil­liam and Kate. Crowds gath­ered out­side the chapel were de­nied a glimpse of the royal fam­ily.

The de­ci­sion for The Queen, 92, and Prince Philip, 97, to not at­tend the chris­ten­ing was “mu­tu­ally agreed” upon be­tween the monarch and Wil­liam and Kate “some time ago,” a palace source says.

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