Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, has always approached her royal role with her own spin. For the christening of royal baby Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor Saturday, then, it should come as no surprise that everyone has been paying close attention to her plans for the big day. Christenings are the first major religious ceremony that a royal baby participates in, inducting them into the Church of England. Royal christenings are also filled with time-honored traditions, from the royal christening gown worn by the child to the various historic churches in which they take place.
For baby Archie’s christening, Markle and Prince Harry chose to hold the ceremony in Queen Elizabeth’s private chapel in Windsor Castle. The Sussex family lives in the newly-renovated Frogmore Cottage on the Windsor grounds, making this a convenient choice; they were also married at Windsor’s St. George’s Chapel. Recent christenings have been held farther afield: Prince George and Prince Louis were christened at the Chapel Royal in London’s St. James Palace, while Princess Charlotte’s christening was at the Church of St. Mary Magdalene in Sandringham.
People reported that royal baby Archie’s christening would be “private.” But as royals expert Marlene Koenig explains to TIME, that’s “not really news, because all christenings are private.” Arrivals and departures of the various royals are generally kept quiet as well — and that was certainly the case for Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
As for what goes on inside the chapel, that also remained a private affair. “It is unlikely that the order of service will be released to the public, but it is expected that this will be a traditional Church of England service,” Koenig says. One other important part of the ceremony is the presence of the baby’s godparents, who are often named in advance of the event. Markle and Prince Harry have chosen to keep their selections private, however. Koenig notes that godparents must be baptized Christians and ideally confirmed in order to qualify, which may have excluded many of the pair’s more high-profile friends.
Beyond that, the parents released photos of the event taken by the photographer Chris Allerton following the christening — which is again, Koenig, notes, “not unusual.” (For Prince Louis, official photos were released to the public just under a week following the christening itself.) Check out the Sussex family their own Instagram account where photos of the family as well as the immediate family have popped up.
“The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are so happy to share the joy of this day with members of the public who have been incredibly supportive since the birth of their son,” the Instagram caption read.
The caption also included information on the christening gown:
“Their son, Archie, was baptised wearing the handmade replica of the royal christening gown which has been worn by royal infants for the last 11 years. The original Royal Christening Robe, made of fine Honiton lace lined with white satin, was commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1841 and first worn by her eldest daughter. It was subsequently worn for generations of Royal christenings, including The Queen, her children and her grandchildren until 2004, when The Queen commissioned this handmade replica, in order for the fragile historic outfit to be preserved, and for the tradition to continue.”
For royal baby Archie’s birth in May, Markle deviated from the tradition of her sister-in-law Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge by choosing to keep the birth plans private, including the hospital. Markle also waited to release images of the new baby on her own schedule. And for the royal wedding of Markle and Prince Harry in May 2018, the pair made small changes that reflected their independent perspective, like including a gospel choir in the service as well as bishop, Michael Curry, who delivered the wedding sermon. Markle also entered the chapel solo, and was accompanied down the aisle by Prince Charles, not her father. Plus, they chose to forego the traditional fruit cake in favor of a lemon-elderflower cake as their party pastry.
It’s worth noting that, given Archie’s lower position in the line of succession to the throne, Markle and Prince Harry are also choosing to maintain a lower profile for their young family.
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