Harry and Meghan's two-month-old son Archie Harrison will be christened on Saturday in a private chapel inside Windsor Castle. The day will differ slightly from past royal christenings, with the Duke and Duchess of Sussex choosing to make it entirely private, with no press allowed. However, there are a few traditions that the royal couple will uphold, from the robe that their baby boy will be wearing, to the font he will be baptized in. Here are the precedents that will be followed on Saturday…
Archie will wear the iconic replica Honiton gown, made by Angela Kelly, who is the dressmaker to the Queen. The replica christening robe was created to replace the original robe commissioned by Queen Victoria for the christening of her daughter Princess Victoria in 1841. Having been worn by 62 royal babies over 163 years, the original gown was deemed too fragile to use in 2004, when the Queen commissioned a copy. The replica gown that Archie will wear has been worn by his cousins, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
Prince George is pictured here in the replica Honiton lace gown
The Archbishop of Canterbury will officiate the ceremony
Meghan and Harry's first child will be christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, who has christened senior royals including Prince Charles and Prince William, as well as Prince George in 2013, Princess Charlotte in 2015 and Prince Louis in 2018. The Archbishop also christened and confirmed the Duchess of Sussex last year ahead of her marriage to Prince Harry.
The Archbishop of Cantebury will baptise Archie
The Jordan Water
In keeping with royal tradition, Archie will be christened using holy water transported from Jordan to the UK. The water comes from the River Jordan, which is believed to be where Jesus was baptised by Saint John, and is a popular place of pilgrimage for many Christians. The tradition stems from the royal family's Christian faith, with the BBC reporting that for Princess Charlotte's christening, the water was transported by the Jordanian royal court. For Prince Louis' christening, it was reported that Prince William had picked up some water from the river himself, as he had just visited the country.
The Lily font
Archie will be christened using the ornate gilt Lily Font that is usually on show as part of the crown jewels at the Tower of London. The font has been used since 1840 and was commissioned by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert ahead of the birth of their first child.
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The couple plan to have a media-free day, with Archie Harrison due to be christened in a private chapel away from the public. The couple will, therefore, skip the tradition of being pictured walking to and from the church, as William and Kate did with all three of their children.
It is traditional for an official family portrait to be taken after the ceremony, with the picture giving the public a glimpse of the new family. For example, Prince Harry's christening photographs in 1984 included one in which Prince William took centre stage as the rest of the family looked on in hysterics.
Archie's parents will release at least one photograph on Saturday. Their choice of photographer is Chris Allerton, with Buckingham Palace confirming on Wednesday: "The Duke and Duchess of Sussex look forward to sharing some images taken on the day by photographer Chris Allerton".
Family portrait from Prince Harry's christening
Although there will be fewer than 25 people at the intimate gathering, the Duke and Duchess have made sure to invite their closest family, with proud grandfather, the Prince of Wales, the Duchess of Cornwall, Meghan's mum, Doria Ragland and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on the guest list. The godparents will also be in attendance; although it is yet to be revealed, it seems Lindsay Roth and Genevieve Hillis are hot potentials. The two women were pictured with Meghan at Wimbledon on Thursday.
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It is extremely likely that guests will be served Meghan and Harry's wedding cake from their ceremony last year, following the tradition that sees couples save the top tier of their cake for their children's christenings. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge followed suit, offering their guests wedding cake at all three of their children's christenings. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex had a nontraditional lemon elderflower cake topped with buttercream and fresh flowers at their wedding, made by chef Claire Ptak of Violet Bakery in London.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will offer cake to their guests
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