Prince George’s christening set; Will, Kate get joint coat of arms
Prince George’s christening date has been set for Oct. 23, Kensington Palace announced Friday.
That will make the son of Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge -- born July 22 -- about 3 months old for the intimate ceremony in which his guardians will pledge to raise him in the Christian faith.
“Their Royal Highnesses The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are pleased to announce the christening of Prince George will take place on Wednesday, 23rd October at The Chapel Royal, St. James’s Palace,” Kensington Palace said in a statement. “Prince George will be christened by The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby.”
The ceremony, in which the third in line to the British throne will be baptized with holy water and anointed, will be held in private and only close members of the family and friends will be in attendance, including the queen and her husband, the Duke of Edinburgh. It’s also when the official family portraits will reportedly be taken, as well as a rare image of the queen with three of her direct heirs.
More details, including the naming of George’s godparents, will probably be announced closer to the date.
Wills and Kate reportedly broke with tradition in choosing the Chapel Royal instead of Buckingham Palace because “it just felt right” to them, a source told Us Weekly. “It’s the right size and offers the intimacy they had in mind.”
Royal aides said they chose it 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 married to his fourth wife, Anne of Cleves, according to the Telegraph.
The last member of the royal family to be christened there was William’s cousin, Princess Beatrice, in 1988, the newspaper reported. Queen Elizabeth II, her son Prince Charles and his son 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 Chapel Royal reportedly “has personal meaning” to William because it was the resting place in 1997 for his late mother, Princess Diana, on the night before her funeral. He and his younger brother, Prince Harry, were taken there to pay their respects before their mother’s public funeral at Westminster Abbey.
“Throughout his marriage Diana has very much been in the picture,” William’s biographer, Penny Junor, told the Telegraph. “He gave the duchess his mother’s engagement ring, they got married in the place where her funeral was held, and now this.There is a recurrent theme of making sure Diana is very much in his thoughts and in his heart, and I think this is a little way of including her.”
The news comes as Prince William and Duchess Catherine’s conjugal coat of arms was revealed by Britain’s College of Arms on Friday.
The coat represents the couple “in heraldic terms” and unites William’s elaborate royal shield -- which includes English and Scottish lions and a harp to symbolize Ireland -- with Kate’s red-and-blue shield that displays a chevron surrounded by three acorns. The two shields are supported by a lion and a white unicorn.
[For the Record, 1:45 p.m. Sept. 27: A previous version of this story said Princess Diana’s funeral was in 1977 instead of 1997.]
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