LONDON – Dressed in a lace-and-satin gown designed in the 1840s, Britain’s 3-month-old future monarch, Prince George, was christened Wednesday with water from the River Jordan at a rare gathering of four generations of the royal family.
The occasion had historic overtones: the presence of Britain’s 87-year-old monarch and three future kings, Princes Charles, William and, of course, little George.
Queen Elizabeth II ceded the spotlight to her rosy-cheeked great-grandson, who seemed to wave at her when he arrived – an illusion created by his father, Prince William, playfully moving the infant’s arm.
The private affair at the Chapel Royal at St. James’ Palace was also attended by Prince Charles, next in line to the throne, and the queen’s 92-year-old husband, Prince Philip, who has shown remarkable stamina since returning to the public eye after a two-month convalescence following serious abdominal surgery.
George, who was born on July 22, wore a replica of an intricate christening gown made for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter and first used in 1841. When William was christened in 1982, he wore the original gown, but the garment has become so fragile that a replica was made.
The infant, who will head the Church of England when he becomes king, was christened by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
Kate wore a cream-colored Alexander McQueen dress and hat by milliner Jane Taylor. William wore his customary dark suit and tie.
Also at the ceremony were Prince Harry; Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton; and Kate’s sister Pippa and brother James.
Baby George has seven godparents, among them William’s cousin Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne and a close friend of the couple. Others are Oliver Baker, a friend from William and Kate’s days at St. Andrews University; Emilia Jardine-Paterson, who went to the exclusive Marlborough College high school with Kate; Hugh Grosvenor, son of the Duke of Westminster; Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, a former private secretary to the couple; Julia Samuel, a close friend of Princess Diana; and William van Cutsem, a childhood friend of William’s.