Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, christened their third-born child, Prince Louis, on Monday.
The private ceremony took place in the Chapel Royal at St. James’ Palace in London and was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who officiated at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding in May.
The christening formally welcomes the child, fifth in line to the British throne, into the Church of England, which is governed by the ruling monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. Alas, the queen and her husband, Prince Philip, were not in attendance on Monday.
Buckingham Palace said the decision not to attend was made by the queen and the couple “some time ago” and was not due to health reasons. The 92-year-old ruler was returning from Norfolk on Monday and gearing up for a week of celebrations marking the Royal Air Force centenary on Tuesday and President Trump’s visit to Windsor on Friday, the BBC reported.
In footage showing the young royals arriving at the chapel, the archbishop greeted Catherine, who carried the sleepy 11-week-old prince, while William held hands with their other two children, Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 3.
It was the first time the couple and their brood were seen all together in public.
William’s father, Prince Charles, and Charles’ wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, walked in with them, along with Harry and Meghan, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Catherine’s family, including her pregnant sister Pippa Middleton, also attended.
Louis wore the same christening gown used by his siblings — a lace and satin robe made by the queen’s dresser, Angela Kelly, that is a replica of an 1841 robe made for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter.
William and Catherine selected six friends to serve as godparents: Nicholas van Cutsem, Guy Pelly, Harry Aubrey-Fletcher, Laura Meade, Robert Carter and Catherine’s cousin, Lucy Middleton.
The silver Lily Font baptismal and water from the River Jordan were used during the 40-minute ceremony, the palace said. The couple also chose two hymns, two lessons and two anthems for the occasion.
The hymns were “O Jesus, I Have Promised” and “Lord of All Hopefulness” and the lessons, drawn from St. Mark 10: 13-16 and Ephesians 3: 14-19, were read by Middleton and Pelly, respectively.
“This Is the Day Which the Lord Hath Made” and “Suo Gân,” a traditional Welsh lullaby, were the anthems. The former was composed for Will and Kate’s wedding in 2011 and was performed Monday by the Choir of Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal.
The palace said guests would attend a private tea at Clarence House after the ceremony. The reception featured a christening cake, which was taken from a tier of the parents’ wedding cake.
Prince George was also christened in the Chapel Royal in 2013. The location is believed to be sentimental to William because it is where he and his brother Harry privately paid their respects to their late mother, Diana, before her funeral in 1997. (Markle was reportedly baptized there earlier this year.)
Princess Charlotte was christened in St. Mary Magdalene Church in Sandringham, England, in 2015.
A 3-day-old Louis was last glimpsed in May portraits his parents shared to mark Charlotte’s third birthday. Formal family portraits featuring the young prince, the queen and the litany of godparents are expected to follow the proceedings. Matt Holyoak has been selected as the official photographer.
The wee prince, who was born in April, is waiting his turn in the line of succession behind grandfather Prince Charles, dad Prince William and elder siblings George and Charlotte.
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