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Royal Christening Traditions

Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor will be christened today and while there’s been plenty of chat about the decision not to release the names of his godparents, there are some rather more interesting aspects of royal baptisms to enjoy. From gowns that helped industry to the water that the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will use to welcome him formally to the Church of England, this royal christening will be packed with regal symbolism. Royal Central takes a look at some of the best known royal christening traditions. 

Honiton Lace

It was a PR pick by a canny queen and it’s led to one of the most famous royal traditions of them all. Queen Victoria was very keen to promote local industries and so, when she came to christen her first baby, she chose a gown made of Honiton lace, the same material she’d famously promoted by including it in her wedding dress.

The outfit first worn by Victoria, Princess Royal was worn by dozens of Victoria’s descendants including Prince Harry himself. But in the early 21st century, the Queen decided it was too fragile to remain in use and commissioned an exact replica.

Silver Lily Font

It’s made of silver but looks like gold and it’s usually kept in the Jewel House of the Tower of London. The Lily Font is another Victorian innovation which has played a big part in the christenings of countless royals.

Victoria commissioned a font for the baptism of her first born child and her husband, the always energetic Prince Albert, helped design it. The result was a creation featuring winged cherubs plucking lyres sitting beneath a bowl edged with lilies, hence the name.

River Jordan Water

Royal babies are traditionally christened with water from the River Jordan – again, another tradition with strong links to Queen Victoria.

Private ceremony

Despite the hoo-ha about the Sussexes decision to christen their son behind closed doors, royals usually take part in this special service in private. Royal baptisms are never televised in the UK and the closest anyone’s got to capturing the actual events for posterity are the portraits commissioned of different services by, you’ve guessed it, Queen Victoria. Archie’s christening is proving to be very traditional indeed.

About author

Lydia is a writer, blogger and journalist. She's worked in the media for over twenty years as a broadcast reporter, producer and editor as well as feature and online writer. As well as royals and royal history, she's a news junkie and podcaster.