Queen Elizabeth II waited one month after Prince Charles‘ November 1948 birth to christen him, and Prince William and Kate Middleton will also wait to baptize their newborn son, Prince George Alexander Louis, who was born July 22. The new parents, both 31, will follow tradition when it comes to the baptism ceremony, christening gown and reception.
Unlike royal weddings, which are often state occasions, baptisms are reserved for about 60 relatives and friends. At the half-hour liturgy, the Archbishop of Canterbury will ask William, Middleton and the godparents to gather around the 172-year-old baptismal Lily Font, filled with holy water from the River Jordan. As the queen — the Church of England’s Supreme Governor — looks on, they’ll affirm they’ll raise the child to follow Christ.
Then, the newborn will be anointed — and serenaded with hymns. Sixteen choristers from the Chapel Royal will sing at the service.
Since 1841, nearly every royal babe has worn the same lace-and-silk robe, first fashioned for Queen Victoria‘s son, the future King Edward VII. But after it endured six generations of wear and tear, Queen Elizabeth II commissioned a replica in 2008, which was used later that year for her grandson James, the Viscount Severn.
Naturally, as the future sovereign of England, William and Kate’s child will don the original. Though the gown has been handed down, the shoes are always new!
At the reception, Prince William and Middleton will serve the top tier of their wedding cake, which they froze after their April 2011 wedding.
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