The Royal Baby Christening: What to Expect

Elise Solé

Kate Middleton and Prince William are known for bucking royal tradition. So far, the couple has embraced a modern take on parenthood – William is the first senior royal to take paternity leave and they’ve reportedly rejected the idea of hiring a nanny. But for the christening ceremony of Prince George, they’ll most likely honor family history, according to royal expert Victoria Arbiter.

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"Given Queen Elizabeth’s religious beliefs and William's deep respect for his grandmother, the odds are high that a traditional ceremony will be held for Prince George," Arbiter told Yahoo! Shine. And that starts with the dessert they’ll serve at the reception, which, added Aribter, will probably be a cake most of those in attendance have tasted before.

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"British couples traditionally freeze the top tier of their wedding cake to serve at the christening of their first child,” said Arbiter. “Fruitcake is a popular choice in England, as it was for the royal couple in 2011, and its alcohol content preserves it well."

According to the Los Angeles Times, the royal wedding cake was comprised of 17 individual fruitcakes (with 12 on the base), decorated with cream and white icing, and adorned with frosted flowers including white rose, daffodil, honeysuckle, daisies, and lavender.

Although Buckingham Palace could not confirm details of the upcoming ceremony, the royal couple will wait until Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip return from their annual summer vacation at their Balmoral estate in Scotland. "We’re expecting a christening date in late September or early October," said Arbiter. "That's longer than the one month Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip waited to christen Prince Charles."

The ceremony itself may take place in the music room at Buckingham Palace, a centrally located space in the palace where the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal, the Duke of York, and Prince William were all christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, according to the Official Website of the British Monarchy. "It will also be a very small and intimate affair," royal journalist Henry Meller told Yahoo! Shine. "This will be the royal couple’s true inner circle."

Prince George is expected to wear a replica of the christening gown that was first used by the family in 1841 when Queen Victoria and Prince Albert dressed their first daughter in it. Fast forward to 2004 when it was deemed too worn, and a replica was created. "The Queen ordered an exact replica by Liverpool designer Angela Kelly," said Arbiter. "And the original was preserved, as it's a priceless family heirloom."

A silver gilt lily font – a 172-year-old relic used by the British monarch since 1841 – may be used to hold holy water from the River Jordan, much like it did for Prince William’s christening in 1982, according to a story published in People. The godparents will also be included in the ceremony, and while the chosen guardians are anyone's guess at this point, there will likely be six godparents (three men and three women). "Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton are obvious choices but we may also hear that David Jardine-Paterson and his wife Emilia d'Erlanger, close friends of the royal couple, may be chosen," Meller explained. "Or even Sam Waley-Cohen, who reportedly helped get Middleton and Prince William back together when they briefly split in 2007. Although Waley-Cohen may not be considered since symbolically, he represents a darker time in the royal couple's lives."

One safe bet: The Duchess of Cambridge will look gorgeous. "Kate will probably wear a designer dress fit for a garden party or perhaps something more formal, and William will wear a suit and tie," says Arbiter, who added that the world will most likely be able to catch a glimpse of the expanded royal family soon after the event. "Although no photography will be allowed at the christening, most likely due to Queen Elizabeth's wishes, an official family photo may be taken after the ceremony and released to the press shortly after."

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