After a rainy morning at Sandringham the sun came out in time for the royals to walk to church for Princess Charlotte’s christening.
…a crowd of 3,500 were allowed into watch the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge walk between Sandringham House and the church and back again with Charlotte and her big brother Prince George, making it the most public royal baptism in modern times.
The day was filled with historic references, including Charlotte’s pram, dating back to the 1950s. More from a Daily Mirror story:
Kate pushed the Millson pram – once used for the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex – while William held George’s hand as the prince, who is nearly two, waved at the crowds.
There have been comments that Diana was also pushed to St. Mary Magdalene in this same pram, but I’ve not been able to substantiate that yet. With thanks to Jill, Samantha and others who have tweeted and emailed about the pram, it *is* true that Diana, Princess of Wales was seen in a similar pram. A better look at the pram via the Kensington Palace twitter feed.
The Duchess leading the way to church this afternoon.
James and Pippa Middleton arriving, or possibly leaving (I’m having a tough time determining which it is). Pippa wore an Emilia Wickstead style.
Pippa was also wearing a Jane Taylor hat, more from The Daily Mail:
Jane Taylor trained with the Queen’s milliner Marie O’Reagan and has worked with several members of the royal family in the past, including Zara Phillips, Princess Eugenie and the Countess of Wessex. She said: ‘Pippa Middleton is the epitome of elegance and style and I could not be more honoured to see her wearing one of my designs.’
The Duchess of Cornwall and the Middletons.
A better shot of Michael, Pippa and Carole Middleton.
Here you see HM as she arrives at St. Mary Magdalene Church; she is wearing a soft pink Angela Kelly ensemble. (The Queen and Prince Philip did not walk to the church, they were driven and entered via a side entrance.)
Kate and Her Majesty sharing a lovely moment.
Prince George looked dashing in a smocked set from Rachel Riley.
Those thinking George’s outfit somehow seemed familiar were wise in their reminiscing: it is very close in design to what Prince William wore when visiting his new baby brother, Prince Harry, at the Lindo Wing in 1984.
And here, a shot of the Princess.
Once everyone arrived at the church there was a spot of time for a chat. Some readers will recognize the traditional Norland College uniform worn by Nanny Maria Borrallo.
Here you see a group of Norland Nannies in uniform, via the College’s Facebook page.
While some Norland Nannies are always in uniform, clearly the Cambridges only want Ms. Barrallo in the College’s official look on isolated occasions.
Below, I believe that is the Reverend Canon Jonathan Rivers, the Rector for all Sandringham parishes, greeting the family. This offers a look at the back of Kate’s coat dress.
Links to Diana, Princess of Wales, were evident throughout the day. More from Gordon Rayner’s story in The Telegraph:
The day belonged to Princess Charlotte, but the inspiration was pure Diana, Princess of Wales.
From the choice of godparents to the choice of music, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge made sure the memory of Princess Charlotte’s late grandmother was centre stage.
Some of the many Princess Diana references:
- The infant’s name, Charlotte Elizabeth Diana
- The choice of church; St Mary Magdalene is where Diana was baptized
- One of the five godparents, Laura Fellowes, is Diana’s niece
- A music selection for today’s service, the ‘Prelude on Rhosymedre’ by Ralph Vaughn Williams, was also used at the wedding of Lady Diana Spencer and Prince Charles
One of our first looks at the Cambridges as a family of four.
The names of Charlotte’s five godparents were announced this morning.
- Tom van Straubenzee, William’s best friend at prep school
- Adam Middleton, Kate’s cousin on her father’s side
- the Honourable Laura Fellowes, Princess Diana’s niece
- Sophie Carter, a friend of Kate’s
- Another very close friend of Williams, James Meade
Below we see (l to r) Laura Fellowes, James Meade and Sophie Crater as they arrive for the service.
From Gordon Rayner’s story in the Telegraph:
On an occasion otherwise laden with tradition, the Duke and Duchess sprang something of a surprise with the announcement of their choice of godparents. No member of the Royal family made it onto a distinctly informal list of friends and relatives, which included several unexpected choices.
Mr. Van Straubenzee and Mr. Mead were the only two individuals asked to deliver remarks/make speeches at William and Kate’s wedding reception.
More about the actual service via The Telegraph’s coverage of today’s christening.
In his homily the Archbishop referred to one of Princess Charlotte’s ancestors, the Grand Duchess Elizabeth, who was sainted and is buried in the Holy Land after being murdered by the Bolsheviks in Russia in 1918. A grandmother of Queen Victoria, she had sold her jewellery and possessions to found a charity in Moscow and joined a convent.
The Archbishop spoke of Elizabeth’s “beauty of character”, an attribute which “begins with baptism”, and referred to the families of the 30 Britons murdered in Tunisia needing such “lives of beauty around them”.
As expected, Princess Charlotte wore the same christening gown that her brother wore for his 2013 baptism, the replica of the gown worn by Queen Victoria’s daughter in 1841. From British Vogue:
The white Spitalfields silk-satin gown, which has cap sleeves and a Honiton cotton lace overlay, was created to resemble the dress that Queen Victoria wore for her marriage to Prince Albert in 1840.
The replica was made by the Queen’s dressmaker and close aide, Angela Kelly. Below we see (from left to right) Charlotte in the gown today, her brother at his baptism in October of 2013 and the children’s father, Prince William, wearing the original gown at his baptism in 1982.
On to more specifics about what Kate wore. The bespoke Alexander McQueen coat dress was a sleek, sophisticated design. Don’t let the frock’s clean lines fool you, this was an intricately engineered piece; the multiple gores and darting made for a complex tailoring job. It also featured a fitted bodice with wide, winged lapels.
Here you have a good look at the additional section of the panel that hits just below the waist.
And the style showcased Kate’s favorite silhouette, a fit and flare design.
Here, a look at Kate’s updo and Jane Taylor hat.
Kate’s hair from another angle.
The Duchess eschewed her oft-worn platform pumps, opting instead for the
pointed toe ‘Fifth Avenue’ heels by Russell and Bromley. Several of us are having a debate about precisely which shoe Kate is wearing, because these really don’t look like the R&B Fifth Avenue. I’m headed off to bed, we will get it sorted out in the morning. As always, your input is *greatly* appreciated!
We first noted these when Kate wore them in June of 2014 for a Buckingham Palace Garden Party.
UPDATED JULY 7: Russell & Bromley verify Kate is wearing their Fifth Avenue court shoes. Below, a screen grab of a Russell & Bromley Pinterest post today.
UPDATE #2 July 8:
This afternoon on Twitter Russell and Bromley shared that they were mistaken in sating the Duchess wore their Fifth Avenue for Charlotte’s christening.
Our thanks to Natalie for suggesting that Kate, in fact, might well have been wearing the ‘Pointy’ style you see referenced above.
Natalie’s link led to this image: a Russell and Bromley Facebook post from April 20, 2012. .
That most definitely looks like Kate’s shoe from Sunday in a different color. The heels are described in the Facebook post as “….a hot heel for Friday night drinks?? We’re loving Pointy in coral patent….”. It seems the mystery is solved, with the help of Natalie, as well as Kate’s Closet, Irish Sara and A Petite Princess for their tenacity in continuing to question the shoe ID. And our appreciation to Russell and Bromley as well.
Kate’s style today and the Alexander McQueen look worn for George’s christening in 2013.
Other notes and thoughts:
- The similarity between Pippa and Kate’s styles today is something the sisters would have discussed beforehand, something they were comfortable with. There wouldn’t be any fashion surprises from guests at an event like today’s.
- At this point I don’t believe the Duchess had a separate dress on beneath the coat. I agree with Lili and others who have suggested the bit of fabric we have seen in some photos is a slip, that makes the most sense from what I can see in photos.
- Prince George looked darling and I liked the historical nod to William’s 1984 Lindo Wing ensemble.
- Kate’s Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen design was ideal for the occasion, understated elegance at its best.
- It was a delight to see the Cambridges as a family of four for the first time.
NOTE: The post has been corrected to fix the following errors:
- I originally misidentified the Reverend Canon Jonathan Rivers in the photo with William, Kate & George, saying it was Archbishop Justin Welby
- An incorrect reference to one of the five godparents has also been corrected; I listed the fifth as Hugh Van Cutsem when it is actually James Meade
- The post has been corrected to reflect the fact that Kate’s 5th Avenue pumps were first seen at a Buckingham Palace garden party (it was the Russell & Bromley Park Avenue we saw Kate wear in Singapore)
- The Daily Mail’s photo-laden story is here
- The Mirror’s 6-minute video can be seen here, at the top of their live blog
- The Telegraph’s photo gallery is here
- Patricia Treble’s outstanding piece for Macleans Canada may be read here
- The Mirror has individual profiles of the godparents:
- Here is the piece on Princess Diana’s niece, Laura Fellowes
- And here is the story on William’s best friend at Ludgrove Prep School, Tom van Straubenzee
- The profile of Adam Middleton, Kate’s cousin on her father’s side, may be seen here
- I continue to hunt for the backgrounders on Kate’s friend Sophie Carter and William’s close friend James Meade
- This You Tube post has excellent video of the morning’s happenings
- To read Archbishop Welby’s homily click here
- A nifty piece about becoming a Norland Nanny, “Why I Will Never Make it as a Supernanny” may be read here (thank you Ian)
- The Daily Telegraph’s video highlights are here
- Below, a brief BBC video
- And finally, ITN’s piece about George charming the crowd is here