23 fun facts about Prince George's christening

23 fun facts about Prince George's christening

As Prince George's christening on October 23 comes ever closer, we've got 23 fun facts to get you ready for the big day!

1. The newest member of the Royal Family will be 93 days old on Oct. 23, the day of his christening. By contrast, Prince William was 44 days old; Prince Charles, a month old, and the Queen 38 days old. 

2. The service is expected to start promptly at 10 am (Eastern Time), which is 3 pm in London.

3. This occasion will be only the third time the public has seen baby George - the first was outside the Lindo Wing at St. Mary's Hospital the day after his birth; the second was in the first official portraits taken by his doting grandfather, Michael Middleton.


4. The christening officially welcomes Prince George into the Church of England. One day, the prince, who is third in succession to the throne, will follow in his grandmother's footsteps and become Defender of the Faith.

5. George's modern parents, William and Kate, have traded popular Buckingham Palace for the Chapel Royal in St. James's Palace as the location for the christening. The choice is thought to be a gesture of respect to Princess Diana - it's where her coffin was placed for visitation prior to her 1997 funeral.

6. The last royal christening to take place in the Chapel Royal was William's cousin Princess Beatrice in August 1988. A six-year-old Prince William attended with his parents.

7. The historic space, built in 1540 by King Henry VIII and decorated for his marriage to Anne of Cleves, has hosted many an important event. Queen Elizabeth I prayed here to protect England from the Spanish Armada; King Charles I received Holy Communion before his 1649 execution and Queen Victoria married Prince Albert. The heart of Queen Mary I is buried beneath the chapel's choir stalls.

8. The prince will wear a delicate lace-and-satin gown, a replica of the one made for Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, Victoria, in 1841. That gown was used in 30 christenings and is now too fragile. Prince Edward and Sophie's son, James, seen here, was the first to wear the replica robe in 2008.

9. Although his gown will be a hand-me-down, baby George will wear new shoes. And judging from his mother Kate's good taste, they're sure to be stylish!

10. The Queen and Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla and Prince Harry (and maybe Cressida), as well as Kate's family, the Middletons, are expected to attend the private ceremony, which is usually limited to about 60 guests.

11. The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, who is the principal leader of the Church of England, will share the spotlight with Prince George. "It is a great privilege and honour and will without doubt be an occasion of immense joy," he said.

12. It is thought that George's service will follow the modern baptismal rites that were observed at Prince William's baptism, not the version from the 1662 Book of Common Prayer delivered in 17th-century English.

13. A royal baptism, like any other, has several parts. Typically, the priest makes the sign of the cross on the child's forehead to unite him with Christ; the pouring of water on the baby's head to wash him of sin; the anointing of oil to represent God's Holy Spirit; the welcome to the congregation; and the lighting of a candle.

14. George will be baptized with holy water from the River Jordan held in the silver-gilt lily font, which has been used to christen members of the Royal Family since 1841.

15. Prince William cried three times when he was anointed, prompting his doting grandmother, the Queen, to say, "He's a good speech-maker."

16. After George is anointed, 16 choristers from the Chapel Royal will sing hymns. This master choir also sings at events including the Royal Maundy service and the Remembrance Day parade at the cenotaph.

17. Names of Prince George's godparents are yet to be released, but the baby could have more than half a dozen godparents: William had six, the Queen seven and Prince Charles eight.

18. Part of their duties as godparents will be "to bring up this child to fight against evil and follow Christ."

19. There will be no photos during the christening, but the Royal Family will release images afterwards. There will be the first portraits that include the queen and her three heirs - Charles, William and George.

20. Prince Charles received a silver-gilt cup dating back to 1773 from his great-grandmother, Queen Mary, in honour of his christening. Prince George is sure to receive something with family history.

21. Following the service, the royals will host a celebratory reception where they'll serve the top tier of a fruitcake made by master baker Fiona Cairns for William and Kate's 2011 wedding. The couple set three tiers aside; draw your own conclusions!

22. For the first time, Britain's royal mint is issuing commemorative £5 coins to mark the christening. Here in Canada, fans can choose from the series of collector coins released by the Royal Canadian Mint to honour Prince George's birth, or buy a Prince George stamp.

23. There are currently no tours allowed of the Chapel Royal - but if you happen to be in London, you can attend religious services there and see the site yourself. Just don't try to get a pew on Oct. 23, 2013!

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