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Taking a look at Swedish royal christenings

As Princess Adrienne’s christening takes place tomorrow in the Royal Chapel of Drottningholm Palace, we are taking a look at the traditions of Swedish royal christenings – all of which have been seen as state occasions for centuries.

Since 1906, Swedish royals have worn the same christening gown. It was first worn by then-Prince Gustaf Adolf (later King Gustaf VI Adolf) and has been passed down since. Like many a christening dress, it is made of light, crisp cotton batiste and covered in Valenciennes, a popular type of bobbin lace. It has small cap sleeves, trimmed with more lace. The name of the newly christened royal and the date of their christening is always embroidered on the gown after the service. This tradition began in 1935 with the christening of King Carl XVI Gustaf’s sister, Princess Margareta, as their parents added a cape with a hood to the gown.

Prince Gustaf Adolf’s baptismal dress from 1906. Photo: Håkan Lind, royalcourt.se, Sweden

A silver baptismal font is always used in the ceremony at the Royal Chapel of Stockholm. About the font, the Royal Court explained, “was designed in the late 17th century by the palace architect Nicodemus Tessin the Younger, and was made in Stockholm by the French silversmith François Cousinet between 1696 and 1707.” If the christening is at the Royal Palace of Drottningholm Palace, a separate font is used with a golden angel base. This font was “according to an inscription, donated to the castle church of Queen Ulrika Eleonora in 1728.”

Water from a spring in Öland has been used for all the baptisms beginning with Crown Princess Victoria. Before that, water was sourced from the Jordan River.

The Archbishop is the minister always performs the ceremony, and unlike the Danish royals, it is not a naming ceremony. The name of the child is announced by one of the parents, but this is only “to express each individual’s personal identity.”

Karl XV’s cradle Photo: royalcourt.se, Sweden

The little royal is also presented with a mini Order of the Seraphim during the ceremony by the King. This is the only time they wear it until they turn 18.

After the service, a 21-gun salute takes place, and the young royal is brought to the palace to be placed in Karl XV’s cradle while the parents greet their guests at a reception.

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