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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

The Christening of Prince George

Prince George was christened today in a ceremony that spanned four generations of the Royal family.

The baby Prince looked pink-cheeked, chubby and peaceful as he emerged from the historic Chapel Royal at St James's Palace in the arms of his mother The Duchess of Cambridge, who beamed with delight.

Prince George arrived for his christening in the arms of his father, the Duke of Cambridge, and gurgled happily when his great grandparents The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh arrived for the short service.

The three-month-old made only his second appearance in public for the christening. His only previous public outing was when The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital in central London the day after he was born on July 22. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, greeted both families at the Chapel Royal in St. James's Palace.

When The Queen's car arrived, nearby doors in the palace opened and young Prince George could be heard gurgling.

His grandfather The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall walked forward to meet The Queen, who was being greeted by the Archbishop and the Bishop of London Richard Chartres.

The doting grandfather was followed by The Duke and Duchess, with The Duke holding his son in front of him and jiggling him up and down as he walked. He was joined by his brother Prince Harry, who greeted his grandfather The Duke of Edinburgh as The Duke told everyone: "He's all ready", adding: "So far so good."

Prince George, who stared curiously at his relatives as they chatted, was wearing a replica of a christening gown made for Queen Victoria's eldest daughter in 1841, which almost touched the ground.
The Royal party spoke for a few more minutes and The Duchess walked over to greet The Duke of Edinburgh, kissing him on both cheeks before curtseying.

Prince George at his christening
Prince George at his christening
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Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton both gave readings at the christening.

Prince George will have seven godparents, including Zara Phillips and six of his parents' close friends.

The Duke and Duchess chose two hymns, two lessons and two anthems for the service.

The first lesson, from the Gospel of St Luke, Ch 18, verses 15-17, was read by Miss Middleton, who was The Duchess's maid of honour at Their Royal Highness's wedding.

The second, from St John's gospel, chapter 15, verses 1-5, was read by Prince Harry.

The two hymns at the service were Breathe on Me, Breath of God and Be Thou My Vision.

Two anthems were also performed at the service, including Blessed Jesu! Here we Stand, by Richard Popplewell, which was written for The Duke's own baptism on August 4 1982.

The second was John Rutter's well-known anthem The Lord Bless You and Keep You.

Both were performed by The Choir of Her Majesty's Chapel Royal, which performed at Their Royal Highnesses' wedding as well as at the Golden and Diamond Jubilee Services at St Paul's Cathedral. The choir was made up of six Gentlemen-in-Ordinary, who are professional singers, and 10 Children of the Chapel Royal, boy choristers who hold the Sovereign's choral scholarships at the City of London School.

They wore Gold and Scarlet State Coats, still tailored to the Royal Warrant of 1661.

The Chapel Royal choir sings each Sunday at the Chapel Royal, or the Queen's Chapel at St James's Palace, as well as at other events including the annual Royal Maundy service, the Remembrance Sunday Parade at the Cenotaph in Whitehall.

The Archbishop of Canterbury was supported by The Dean of The Chapel Royal (The Right Reverend and Right Honourable Richard Chartres) and The Sub-Dean of the Chapel Royal (The Reverend Prebendary William Scott).

Earlier, The Queen was received with a Royal Salute from the St James's Palace detachment of The Queen's Guard as she arrived in Colour Court.

The Duchess of Cambridge looked relaxed before the service began.

Earlier her family - parents Carole and Michael Middleton and siblings Pippa and James - arrived as a group.

They were warmly greeted by the Bishop of London and Archbishop before taking their seats in the chapel.

The godparents arrived together - William van Cutsem and wife Rosie, Oliver Baker and wife Melissa, Emilia Jardine-Paterson and husband David, and Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton and wife Susannah at the front. Julia Samuel was joined by husband Michael and the Duke of Westminster's son Hugh Grosvenor came alone, with Zara and Mike Tindall bringing up the rear.

The christening service lasted around 35 minutes and when it came to an end The Queen and The Duke were the first to leave, with Her Majesty clutching a copy of the order of service.

The Archbishop and the Bishop of London were waiting on the steps and were thanked by the family and friends of Their Royal Highnesses as the guests left.

They proceeded to Clarence House where proud grandfather The Prince of Wales and his wife were hosting a private tea, where guests were served slices of christening cake - taken from a tier of the Royal wedding cake.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left the chapel together with The Duchess holding her son who was wide eyed and clasped his hands together.

Dr Chartres looked at Prince George's tiny hands and joked with his parents, saying he was holding them in a "very commanding" manner.

Lambeth House later released highlights of the address given by Mr Welby during the baptism of the Prince George.

The Archbishop said that the parents and godparents of Prince George have a "simple task" to "make sure he knows who this Jesus is.

"Speak of him, read stories about him. Introduce him in prayer. Help him to grow and flourish into the person God has created and has called him to be."

He told the guests that as a Christian, Prince George "is to share the life of Christ which is in him, regardless of whom he meets, their faith or nature or habits, so that others find life.

"That sharing may be in words, or generous actions - most likely both - but it will be both very costly and infinitely rewarding."

The Archbishop concluded: "For life to be complete, the living and trusted love of Jesus Christ is the foundation. "That is something we grow into, live out, hold onto, and which finally carries us home.

"With Christ and his love as our centre, all the needs we meet are faced, all the hopes we have are shaped, and all the possibilities of our life journey are fulfilled."

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