Today Kensington Palace released four pictures from Princess Charlotte’s christening.
Above, the main family portrait, the most formal of the photographs taken by renowned photographer Mario Testino. HM really pops in that pink in front of Camilla’s blue, while Queen Prince Philip and Prince William struck me as looking especially elated at the occasion.
Another sign of the times: Palace officials used social media to release the images. First, a teaser about the photographs on the official Kensington Palace Twitter account:
Next, the photos were posted on the Kensington Palace Instagram account.
The Palace also released a statement from William and Kate :
‘The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their whole family had a wonderful day on Sunday and were delighted to share the special occasion with the thousands of people who came to Sandringham. They are very happy to share these photographs and hope that everyone enjoys them as much as they do.’
Below, perhaps my favorite picture: an especially ebullient image with father and son, both reveling in what looks like a carefree, joyful moment in the Sandringham Gardens.
More from Gordon Rayner, writing in The Telegraph:
But Testino’s greatest achievement is undoubtedly to have made Prince George laugh. The famously grumpy toddler has never given such a toothy grin for an official picture, but showed a smile usually only seen by his family as he was photographed being held by the Duke of Cambridge.
Mr. Testino is known for his skill at capturing relaxed yet classic moments. These pictures are in contrast to the Jason Bell images from Prince George’s christening.
In fairness to Mr. Bell, it’s clear the request in 2013 was for posed, formal portraits. (Readers may notice the Queen wearing blue for Prince George’s christening and pink for Charlotte’s.) It’s evident the Cambridges decided they wanted a more informal look with these images. Below, the family in the gardens at Sandringham House in the image that is ‘the favorite’ if measuring by number of Instagram likes (approaching 71,000) and comments (1898) at 7pm EDT.
The pictures reflect the tone of what was a less formal royal christening. From the Daily Mail:
As royal christenings go, it was a relatively casual affair and the entire party, excluding the Queen and Prince Philip, walked back to the main house for tea and a slice of christening cake – a tier of William and Kate’s wedding cake – cheered by onlookers.
A closer look at the happy parents outside in the sun.
Mr. Testino also released a statement about the occasion:
“Photographing Princess Charlotte’s christening was an amazing experience. What impressed me the most was the energy of the family, and of that between the Duke and Duchess. One sees how solid they are together and one gets a sense of their strong family values.
I am overwhelmed and honoured to be chosen to document this occasion and to carry on the documentation of the family that is the soul of this country, a country that has given me so much.”
More from Mr. Rayner’s story in The Telegraph:
The Peruvian was chosen by the Duke and Duchess after they enjoyed working with him for the official photographs taken to celebrate their engagement. He has a long association with the Royal family, in particular Diana, Princess of Wales, for whom he was a favourite.
It is a heady yet stressful assignment for any photographer, regardless of their experience at high-pressure jobs. Official photographs are laden with historic value, embodying the royal family’s formal wishes on how the occasion is remembered for all time. Below, mother and daughter in the drawing room at Sandringham House.
That is the photo I have referred to as being ‘Instagramish,’ with lighting that is not ideal and a portion of Kate’s hat out of the frame. It is the expression on Charlotte’s face that merited sharing; she looks as though she is peering straight at the camera (or perhaps someone near Mr. Testino distracting her) with almost a smile on her face. Again, I believe this is precisely a look the Duke and Duchess liked and wanted memorialized for posterity. More on the famed photographer’s work with the duo on heir engagement photographs from a 2014 Telegraph article. The story references this image.
“I waited a long time, an hour or two, to make that picture perfect. But I wasn’t totally satisfied. Then, when I’d finished the shoot, they were about to leave and they suddenly hugged in front of a radiator. I took my camera and that was the picture that ran everywhere — it was spontaneous emotion … you could see they were completely in love.”
Do you have a favorite? If going merely by the shares and comments on the Palace Instagram site, people are most fond of the family four-shot in the Gardens. Below, data taken from the KP Instagram account at 7pm EDT.
But the data on The British Monarchy Facebook page tells a different story.
A few other thoughts about the photographs:
- As is frequently the case, questions about the Queen’s handbag came up almost simultaneously with the Palace’s release of the photos. Input on the presence of The Purse via People magazine:
“It’s simple,” a royal source tells PEOPLE. “The Queen carries her handbag into the room for the photograph, puts it down and the photo is taken. It’s so normal, so usual. That’s exactly what would happen. There are many, many group photographs where the Queen’s handbag is seen.”
A very simple thought about HM and her handbag: she puts it precisely where she wants. If her wish was that it not be in the pictures there is no shortage of people who could have swiftly removed it to a different place.
- As on Sunday, the most notable absence at the event and in the photos is Prince Harry; the Prince continues his 3-month journey in Africa, doing volunteer work on conservation projects.
- While there may be debate about the quality of some of the photos, I believe that perfection was not what William and Kate wanted to convey. They must have had loads of images to choose from, yet they selected these four to represent their own vision and version of the day’s events.
- The interest in the pictures is enormous. The MarioTestino.com website is beyond slow at this writing (7pm), and the number of shares on the Palace Instagram, Facebook and Twitter accounts enormous
- You may enjoy our post about the pictures on sister site What Kate’s Kids Wore, it offers some closeups not seen in our post here
- The official Duke and Duchess of Cambridge website is here, the story about Princess Charlotte’s christening is here
- The Kensington Palace Twitter feed is here, the Instagram page is here
- The Sandringham website is here, the Sandringham House page is here and the Gardens page is here
- Mario Testino’s website is here, his Instagram page is here and Facebook page here
- The Daily Telegraph’s story about the photos is here
- People magazine has a story here titled “Then & Now: Prince George’s vs. Princess Charlotte’s Christening Portraits”
- The Daily Mail’s primary story about the Testino photographs and the christening can be seen here, its story focusing on the George/William pictures is here
- The Telegraph’s story about Mr. Testino’s work with Kate and William, as well as other members of the royal family, notably Diana, the Princess of Wales, may be read here