Some photos tell their own story and take their own place in history as a result. While we are inundated with images of royalty, some pictures stand out as a snapshot of a moment that has its own resonance. In this occasional series, Royal Central looks at some of the best known images of royal life and the story behind them. And this time, it’s a close up on a very famous christening portrait.
The Photo – the christening of Prince Edward of York, July 16th 1894
All monarchs want to see their dynasty flourish and Queen Victoria had already provided a substantial royal family by the time an important arrival put her name in the history books once more. On June 23rd 1894, she welcomed a new great grandchild. But this baby boy had a special place in the family. Third in line to the throne, this little prince completed a trio of kings in waiting lined up in the succession to Victoria’s throne.
Edward Albert Christian George Andrew Patrick David of York was the son of George, Duke of York and the grandson of Edward, Prince of Wales. His arrival meant, for the first time, a British monarch had three generations of direct successors during their lifetime. And that special moment was captured forever in a photo taken at the baby prince’s christening.
Edward was baptised at White Lodge, Richmond by the Archbishop of Canterbury on July 16th 1894 and afterwards, he nestled in his great grandmother’s arms for a photo for the history books. Victoria, Edward, George and Edward – four monarchs in one image.
All three princes would go on to succeed to Victoria’s throne but while Edward VII (reigned 1901 – 1910) and George V (1910 – 1936) were successful and popular monarchs, the baby whose arrival seemed to cement the dynasty for good almost became its undoing. Baby Edward famously ended up sending the Crown into crisis when he decided to marry for love and abdicated as king as a consequence. All that was over four decades away on the summer’s day when, for the first time, four generations of monarchs were pictured together.