The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their son Prince George arrive at Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace. Pic: John Stillwell/PA Wire
BRITAIN’S PRINCE WILLIAM and his wife Kate named the godparents for their baby son Prince George today, as they gathered close friends and family for a low-key christening far removed from the global hype surrounding his birth.
The couple broke with tradition by only naming one royal, William’s cousin and champion horse-rider Zara Philips, in the list of seven godparents, with the others being childhood, university and work friends.
Queen Elizabeth II and the couple’s parents and siblings including William’s younger brother Prince Harry were among the total of 22 guests invited to the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace in London, along with seven godparents.
Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, the spiritual head of the world’s Anglicans, will perform the baptism, welcoming the three-month-old into the Church of England he is one day destined to lead as King George VII.
Queen Elizabeth II arrives at Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace, ahead of the christening. Pic: Yui Mok/PA Wire/Press Association Images
The couple – known to want a relatively normal upbringing for the young prince despite the world’s interest – also eschewed tradition by choosing the Chapel Royal rather than Buckingham Palace for the event.
The godparents include Zara Phillips, the daughter of William’s aunt Princess Anne and wife of rugby player Mike Tindall, and William’s childhood friends William van Cutsem and Earl Hugh Grosvenor; Julia Samuel, who was close to William’s his mother Diana; and Emilia Jardine-Paterson, who went to the private Marlborough College with Kate.
Rounding out the list are Oliver Baker, a friend from St Andrew’s University in Scotland, where the royal couple met, and William’s long-time aide Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, a former soldier in the elite SAS army unit.
Despite speculation Prince Harry and Kate’s sister Pippa Middleton were not named as godparents.
A handful of royal fans camped overnight outside the palace hoping for a glimpse.
In the House of Commons, Prime Minister David Cameron urged lawmakers to “join me in celebrating” the event.
Holy water from the River Jordan
Pic: John Stillwell/PA Wire
The christening will be held in private, a sharp contrast to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s lavish 2011 wedding, which was broadcast live on televisions across the world.
It is a sign of how closely they guard the privacy of the prince, who has not been seen in public since leaving hospital in the glare of hundreds of cameras after his birth on July 22.
An official photograph by celebrity snapper Jason Bell will be released to the public tomorrow.
The queen, 87, will attend with her 92-year-old husband Prince Philip, Charles and his wife Camilla and Prince Harry.
Kate’s parents Michael and Carole Middleton and her siblings James and Pippa Middleton complete the small party.
During the ceremony, Prince George will wear a lace gown and have holy water from the River Jordan poured on his head in what the Archbishop of Canterbury said was a “hugely important moment”.
The religious service will be followed by a tea at Charles’s official London residence, Clarence House, where guests will be served a portion of William and Kate’s wedding cake.
The only other photo of Prince George released to the public so far is a shot with William, Kate and the couple’s dog Lupo which Michael Middleton took in his family’s back garden.