A ROYAL Celebration
The littlest royal sails through his christening as the Cambridges debut as a family of five
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.