Buckingham Palace shares throwback snaps of royal christenings

A century of royal tradition: Buckingham Palace shares throwback snaps of the Queen, Prince Charles and Prince William’s christenings to mark baby Louis’ special day

  • Royal family shared vintage photographs of royal christenings
  • Posted images from the Queen’s – then Princess Elizabeth – in 1926
  • Another captured the Prince of Wales on his special day in 1948
  • Shared a photograph of proud Princess Diana beaming at baby William in 1982 
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Prince Louis of Cambridge’s christening this week was steeped in tradition – from his elaborate gown to the lily font that’s been used in the baptism of royal babies for almost 200 years. 

Now Buckingham Palace has marked the occasion by sharing a selection of vintage photographs of royal christenings through the decades. 

The fascinating images included the then Duke and Duchess of York gazing lovingly at the Queen – then Princess Elizabeth – on her christening day in May 1926. 

Another, taken just 22 years later, captures the proud Princess holding her eldest son, Prince Charles, on his own big day in December 1948. 

A third snap captures a proud Princess Diana beaming down at her first son, Prince William, watched by the Queen and the Queen Mother on the now Duke of Cambridge’s christening day in August 1982.  

The Queen’s christening day: The Queen Mother, then the Duchess of York, with her husband King George VI, then the Duke of York, and their daughter Princess Elizabeth on her christening day on May 1 1926

The photographs were shared by Buckingham Palace on the royal family Instagram account 

The Duchess of Cambridge is seen holding Prince Louis on his christening day at St James’s Palace on Monday

All of the babies in the photographs posted on the Instagram account are wearing the original Honiton robe – the intricate lace and satin christening gown that was made for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, and used for all royal baptisms until Lady Louise Windsor’s in 2004.  

Yesterday Prince Louis became the eighth royal baby to be christened in the replica Honiton lace and white satin gown first used at the christening of James, Viscount Severn in 2008.

The replica was commissioned by the Queen in order to maintain the tradition, while ensuring the original royal gown could be preserved.   

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Along with Viscount Severn, Louis older siblings Prince George and Princess Charlotte both wore the gown, as did Lord Frederick Windsor’s daughter Maud and Zara Tindall’s little girl, Mia.

It was created by the Queen’s dresser Angela Kelly, and features the same lengthy skirt and elaborate collars and bow as its predecessor.

Prince Charles: Proud mother the Queen holds the Prince of Wales on his christening day on December 15th, 1948

The Duke of Cambridge: Princess Diana gazes lovingly at Prince William in this photograph taken on his christening day, on August 4 1982

The original robe, made in 1841, was worn by the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince Harry among others, and has now been carefully preserved.

The water used for Louis’s christening in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace was holy water from the River Jordan, where it is said Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge started their own tradition when it came to christening their children, making the ‘personal decision’ to have their first child, Prince George, baptised at the intimate Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace. 

It meant George became the first future monarch in modern times not to be baptised at Buckingham Palace. 

Now Louis too has been christened in a small, private ceremony at the same venue, which holds special resonance for the family.

The Chapel Royal is where the coffin of William’s late mother Princess Diana lay in rest ahead of her funeral in 1997, to allow the family to pay their last respects. 

Princess Charlotte was baptised in the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham, Norfolk.  

The royal family shared a selection of fascinating vintage photographs to mark the occasion of Prince Louis’ christening – including two from the Queen’s own christening day in 1926

Why did William and Kate chose St James’s Palace for Louis’ christening?

Prince George was the first future monarch in modern times not to be baptised at Buckingham Palace, with the Cambridges choosing the intimate Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace instead.

And William and Kate chose the same venue for the christening of their youngest child, Prince Louis, who was born in April.

Princess Charlotte repeated history by being christened in the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham.

The last great-granddaughter of a serving sovereign to be born in direct succession on the male line – Princess Mary – was also baptised in the same church 118 years ago in 1897.

St Mary Magdalene was also where Charlotte’s late grandmother, Diana, Princess of Wales, was christened on August 30, 1961.

Other notable christenings at the church include Princess Charlotte’s great-great-grandfather King George VI in 1896. The Duke of Cambridge’s cousin Princess Eugenie – the daughter of the Duke of York and Sarah, Duchess of York – was also baptised there in 1990.

Royal christenings are usually private affairs and most royal babies have been christened at royal palaces.

William and the Prince of Wales were both christened in Buckingham Palace’s Music Room. The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, was christened in the Palace’s private chapel in 1926.

Louis’ older brother Prince George was also baptised in October 2013 at the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace. William and Kate made a ‘personal decision’ to hold the ceremony there.

It was where the coffin of William’s mother Diana lay before her funeral to allow her family to pay their last respects.



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