Archie Mountbatten-Windsor, the first son of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, will be christened this Saturday, July 6, at the queen’s private chapel in Windsor Castle. A royal source told CNN that the ceremony is expected to be private and intimate, with only 25 friends and family members attending. However, Buckingham Palace will likely release official photos from the occasion afterwards, like it did for Prince William and Kate Middleton’s son, Prince Louis, last year.
The decision to have the christening at a private chapel may come as a surprise to royal fans who were looking forward to seeing Archie, who’ll be two months old by this Saturday. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also probably won’t share the names of their son’s godparents before the ceremony, royal correspondent Victoria Murphy tells ABC News. Harry and Meghan likely chose close friends rather than celebrity pals (like the Clooneys and Serena Williams) for those roles.
The Sussexes aren’t the only royals to have a private christening. “The British royals have largely had private baptisms for centuries prior to the advent of photography, a court correspondent would write a visual report of the baptism for The Times and other British papers,” royal historian and Royal Musings founder, Marlene Koenig, tells BAZAAR.com.
“Photography changed that a bit but a christening is seen as a private, personal event for the family as this is the time when the infant (or in Meghan’s case, as an adult) is welcomed into the Church of Jesus Christ,” she continues.
The privacy factor also aligns with Harry and Meghan’s plans to raise their child outside of the royal spotlight. They’re already raising him at Frogmore Cottage in Windsor, a removed location from Kensington Palace in London, and they didn’t give him a royal title. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex also “wanted an intimate, peaceful setting in a place with such a special connection to Her Majesty,” a source told People.
Even though the arrivals and departures at the Cambridge children’s christening were accessible to photographers, the religious ceremonies themselves were closed off from the public.
“We were spoiled with the the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s decision to baptize their children where there is public access, or at least, allow the press to photograph arrivals and departures. But this not the norm,” Koenig adds.
It’s unclear whether we’ll be able to get a glimpse of the Sussexes and other royals as they arrive for the baptism this Saturday, given the private location of the baptism venue inside Windsor Castle. However, royal fans will likely have official portraits released by the royal family to look forward to.
“This is a beautiful milestone and they are excited to share it as a family first and then with the world,” People‘s source added. Harry and Meghan took a similar secretive route when they first welcomed Archie on May 6. They didn’t share where Meghan would give birth and didn’t pose for photos immediately after leaving the hospital. Instead, they and their newborn faced cameras days later in Windsor Castle, which is closer to home.
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