More Prince George christening scoop, commemorative coin revealed
Details of Prince George’s christening have emerged.
The son of Britain’s Prince William and his wife, Catherine, the former Kate Middleton, will be christened at the Chapel Royal at St. James Palace on Oct. 23, with the third in line to the throne just over 3 months old.
The private ceremony, which will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, will take place at 3 p.m. and will be about 45 minutes long, according to Kensington Palace.
Queen Elizabeth II, her husband Prince Philip, William’s father Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, William’s brother Prince Harry and Kate’s family, the Middletons, will all be in attendance. Six godparents will be named at the ceremony and official photographs will be released afterward, the palace said.
“This will be the first formal occasion for Prince George, it will be one in which the baby is welcomed into the Church of England. After all, he will one day become the head of the church, so this is an important ceremony,” royal historian Hugo Vickers told the Associated Press.
Another history-making photograph is expected to be shot that day: The queen is expected to be photographed with her three direct heirs: Charles, William and George.
His parents broke with tradition by choosing the Chapel Royal, which is believed to be sentimental to William because it is where he and his brother privately paid their respects to their late mother, Princess Diana, before her funeral in 1997.
In September, royal aides said the new parents chose the spot because it is “an historic, quite intimate chapel” and “it is something they have been thinking about for some time and they just very much liked personally.”
King Henry VIII had the chapel built in 1540 and decorated by Hans Holbein to honor his short-lived marriage to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves. The last member of the royal family to be christened there was William’s cousin Princess Beatrice in 1988.
Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Charles and Prince William were all christened at Buckingham Palace. Harry, now fourth in line to the throne after George’s birth, was baptized at St. George’s chapel in Windsor Castle.
The occasion will also be marked with a set of commemorative coins, the Royal Mint announced Saturday.
William, his wife Catherine and Queen Elizabeth II approved the coins, which will mark the first time that new coins are produced to mark a royal christening in Britain, the Associated Press reported.
The coins will be produced in gold and other metals and in silver, because tradition holds that the crossing of a baby’s palm with silver confers “good health and prosperity to newborns,” the mint said.
Nine different coins have been produced by the mint to honor the royal infant, ranging from £5 to £50,000. Four designs are made of silver, one is platinum, one is copper-nickel and the other three are made of 24-karat gold.
The silver £5-coin, with a face value of about $8, is the cheapest of the lot. But the most eye-grabbing is obviously the larger, saucer-sized gold coin hewn in a kilogram of solid gold, the Telegraph reported, which is one of the largest and most expesnsive coins the mint has ever made.
Only 22 of the large golden coins are available for purchase, the newspaper said, and each is worth £50,000 (that’s about $79,745, based on current conversion rates).
“None of the coins I engrave are ‘just another job,’” the Royal Mint’s chief engraver Gordon Summer told the Telegraph. “But this is particularly auspicious. There are a number of things I’ve done that I’m proud of, but this one tops them all.”
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