Prince George christened in small, intimate ceremony
Marlene Leung, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Wednesday, October 23, 2013 5:57AM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 24, 2013 5:45PM EDT
Marking his admission into the Church of England, Prince George was christened in a small, intimate ceremony Wednesday that experts say broke from royal tradition.
The young prince emerged from St. James's Palace Wednesday afternoon in the arms of his mother, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, with his father close behind.
The prince wore a replica christening gown during the ceremony that was fashioned after the one made for Queen Victoria and first used in 1841. The original gown, which was worn by other members of the royal family, was retired in 2004.
During the ceremony, which lasted around 45 minutes, Kate's sister, Pippa Middleton, read from the Gospel of St. Luke and Prince Harry read from the Gospel of St. John. As well, two hymns were sung: "Breathe on Me, Breath of God" and "Be Thou My Vision."
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby conducted the ceremony, and water from the River Jordan was used for the christening, palace officials said. The future monarch will be head of the Church of England when he becomes king.
Following the ceremony, a tea was scheduled to be held at Clarence House, the official residence of Prince Charles and his wife, Camilla.
The afternoon ceremony was noted for being an intimate affair, with a small guest list made up of mostly family, including Charles, Camilla and Harry, along with Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip. Also in attendance were Kate's father, mother, brother and sister.
Katie Nicholl, author of the book "Kate: The Future Queen," told CTV's Canada AM that the ceremony broke from tradition in the fact that it was "small" and "low-key."
Unlike past royal christenings, which were held in Buckingham Palace, Wednesday's ceremony took place at the Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace.
The chapel is the same location where Kate was confirmed into the Church of England in 2011, prior to her marriage to Prince William. It is also the same location where Prince William paid his final respects to his mother, Princess Diana while she was lying in state in 1997, Nicholl said.
According to royal tradition, six godparents are typically chosen, she said. But ahead of Prince George’s christening, Prince William and Kate named seven:
- Oliver Baker, a friend from St. Andrews University
- Emilia Jardine-Paterson, a friend of Kate's who is said to have introduced the couple when they were 17
- Earl Grosvenor, son of the Duke of Westminster
- Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, a past private secretary for the couple
- Julia Samuel, a close friend of the late Princess Diana
- William van Cutsem, a friend of Prince William
- Zara Philips, cousin to Prince William
Nicholl said there were not many "traditional names" on the list of godparents, noting that the couple chose only one family member and selected friends to round out the list instead.
Prince George was born on July 22. He is third in line to the British throne, after Prince Charles and Prince William.
The christening will be marked with a photo of the Queen and the three heirs to the throne. The historic photo is set to be released Thursday.