Prince George christening: A guest list and the surprise godparent

The future king's official entry into the Church of England

AP Photo/John Stillwell/Pool

Today marks Prince George’s formal entry into the Church of England. When great-granny, Queen Elizabeth II, is the church’s supreme governor it becomes more than a regular event, which explains why the officiant was the church’s leader, Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury.

While some traditions continue–the holy water is from the River Jordan and the lily font was created by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert–others are being dramatically scaled back to respect his parents’ wishes for a small, private ceremony. On the way in William carried George, wearing a confection of lace and silk. And all the women wore elaborate hats so favoured by British women. Kate wore a “a sophisticated sinamay beret with delicate silk organza rose and classic veiling trim,” according to its maker, Jane Taylor Millinery, while her dress was by Alexander MacQueen.

As expected, Will and Kate chose a mixture of friends, advisers and family as godparents to guide their son during his spiritual life. As the Prince of Wales website explained:

  • Mr. Oliver Baker (Oliver Baker attended the University of St Andrews with The Duke and Duchess)
  • Mrs. David Jardine-Paterson (Emilia Jardine-Paterson attended Marlborough College with The Duchess)
  • Earl Grosvenor (Hugh) (Earl Grosvenor is the son of The Duke of Westminster)
  • Mr. Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton (Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton served as Private Secretary to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry from 2005-2012 and continues to serve part-time as Principal Private Secretary and Equerry)
  • The Hon Mrs Michael Samuel (Julia Samuel was a close friend of The Princess of Wales)
  • Mrs. Michael Tindall (Zara Tindall is The Duke of Cambridge’s cousin)
  • Mr. William van Cutsem (William van Cutsem is a childhood friend of The Duke of Cambridge)

While Oliver Baker and Emilia Jardine-Paterson were expected to be chosen, papers had wrongly prophesized William van Cutsem’s brother, Hugh, as a godparents (the entire van Cutsem family is close to the Wales’s) as well as friend Fergus Boyd.

In a nod to George’s late grandmother, Diana, princess of Wales, the parents chose her close friend Julia Samuel. And to honour the significant role played by Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, William’s former private secretary. He started as the man who guided William and Harry into their adult royal roles, and ended as a trusted confidante and close friend. His son, Billie, was a page boy at William and Kate’s wedding. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the choice of the Earl Grosvenor. The 22-year-old heir to the duke of Westminster wasn’t on anyone’s radar. Though he’s got the right connections, as the son of William’s own godmother, the duchess of Westminster, and brother-in-law of another van Cutsem brother, Edward.

The only member of the house of Windsor is William’s close cousin and friend, Zara Tindall, the Olympic equestrienne daughter of Princess Anne. Zara herself is pregnant, so the Queen will get another great-grandchild in the new year.

While the media captured everyone arriving and departing the Chapel Royal, we’ll all have to wait until tomorrow for formal pictures, which will be taken at the post-christening reception at Clarence House. One should be the much anticipated “four monarchs” snap, including the current and three future sovereigns. The last one was taken in 1894.

Prince George official christening photos
Royal christening 101

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.