The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son, Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor, has been christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the private chapel at Windsor Castle.
Harry and Meghan ruffled some feathers when they announced the event would be held privately and that details, such as the names of godparents, would not be released.
So what do we know about the christening and how does it compare to other ceremonies in the UK?
Baptisms are a must for Windsor babies.
The Queen is Defender of the Faith and Supreme Governor of the Church of England and royal infants are often welcomed into the Christian faith within weeks of being born.
Harry was baptised at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, on 21 December 1984 when he was three months and six days old.
George was the first future monarch in modern times not to be baptised at Buckingham Palace, with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge choosing the intimate Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace instead in 2013.
Statistics show the number of baptisms performed by the Church of England during this period has declined from 135,000 in 2009 to just under 93,000 by 2017.
The christening gown
Archie was christened in the frilly cream royal christening gown, like his cousins.
Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis all wore the outfit for their christenings, as did Zara and Mike Tindall’s daughters Mia and Lena.
The replica of the intricate lace and satin gown made for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter has been used for royal infants for the last 11 years.
The new gown was created by the Queen’s dresser Angela Kelly and the team of dressmakers at Buckingham Palace, and features the same lengthy skirt and elaborate collars and bow as its predecessor.
The original Honiton lace and white satin robe, which was made in 1841, was last used in 2004, after which the Queen commissioned the handmade copy so the historic outfit, which had become too fragile to use, could be carefully preserved.
Unlike the royals, many parents in the UK now choose to dress up their little ones in “smart” but less formal clothing which has led to sales of traditional christening gowns going down.
Traditionally, newlyweds would keep the top tier of their wedding cake for the christening of their first child, just like William and Kate did with their seven-tier fruit cake.
Fruit cakes, which for years were the traditional wedding cake of choice, can be stored for years, but sponge cakes should generally be eaten within two to three days.
But Harry and Meghan chose a layered lemon and elderflower sponge cake, decorated with fresh buttercream for their wedding reception.
Lily Jones, owner of London bakery Lily Vanilli, says that sponge cakes can be frozen and defrosted up to a year after the wedding.
She told the BBC: “No-one really orders fruit cake any more – I think in the last 10 years I’ve only had about three orders for it.
“But we get quite a lot of christening cake requests. Most people are more concerned with the decoration and they tend to be quite traditional – white flowers, crosses, that sort of thing. They are quite simple usually, a bit more pared back.
“All of my customers are quite modern, but there are those nods to tradition. Only a few have ordered a wedding cake with the intention of keeping a layer for the baby, but it sometimes happens – just not very often.”
Royal infants usually have more than the standard three godparents.
Prince Louis has six, Prince George has seven and Princess Charlotte has five.
Speculation is rife that Meghan’s best friend, the Canadian stylist Jessica Mulroney, will be chosen while Harry’s old schoolmates, brothers Thomas and Charlie van Straubenzee, could be picked.
Tennis star Serena Williams ruled herself out on Thursday after Meghan watched her play at Wimbledon, as she is playing on Saturday.
The Church of England’s advice states: “You can have as many godparents as you wish, but every child should have at least three, two of the same sex and at least one of the opposite sex to the child.”
Normally under the Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978 the names of godparents are publicly listed.
However, it is understood that to protect the privacy of the godparents, who are thought to be private individuals and not public figures, their names are not being released.
The tradition of giving a silver coin to a young child for their christening goes back centuries and it is though to have links to the Biblical story of the Three Wise Men.
People thought the coin symbolised good luck, but it also served the practical purpose of setting up a nest egg for the child, according to the Royal Mint.
Over the centuries the type of gift has evolved. During the Tudor era people gave silver spoons and in Queen Victoria’s reign people started giving silver trinkets.
Etiquette expert William Hanson told the BBC: “Traditionally the idea is to give something that lasts and is fairly ageless – something that when the child is an adult they can still use and cherish.
“Things made from silver are always popular, or cases of wine made in the year of the birth (if a vintage year, for instance) that can be enjoyed on the child’s coming of age. I suggest people avoid things that are overly infantile, like children’s books, rattles (even silver ones) or cuddly toys. These are not ‘ageless’, however well meant.
“I suspect some of Archie’s godparents (not that we are likely to know) will be American so there may be some presents that have a US provenance, which can help remind him of his transatlantic roots. But I am sure whatever he will receive will be well meant and of great quality.”
Etiquette guide Debrett’s adds: “Premium bonds or other savings accounts may be set up, or a life membership of an organisation, for example the National Trust, may be suitable.”
Prince Harry reportedly bought his youngest nephew, Prince Louis, a first edition of A.A Milne’s Winnie-The-Pooh, for his christening last year.
Harry spent around £8,000 on the book. The gift was inspired by Harry’s childhood memories, a source told The Sun.
This post was curated & Posted using : RealSpecific
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