Row over baby Archie’s private christening: Harry and Meghan risk leaving fans ‘jaded’ by releasing ‘stylised and arty’ pictures rather than letting public see him in family images, royal expert warns
- Ceremony will be in the Queen’s own chapel at Windsor Castle away from press
- One Royal expert said people were becoming a ‘bit jaded’ by ‘stylised’ pictures
- Sources said the christening will be a ‘small, very intimate, family occasion’
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, pose with their newborn son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s son, Archie Harrison, will be christened in private on Saturday in the latest move that is leaving royals fans ‘jaded’.
The ceremony will be in the Queen’s own chapel at Windsor Castle away from press and public, the Mail can reveal.
Royal expert, Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, said she felt that people were becoming a ‘bit jaded’ by ‘stylised’ pictures of the newest royal.
‘I think what people want and what people are used to seeing are lovely family images of the baby in the royal Honiton lace christening gown.
‘They won’t want an arty Instagram shot of Archie’s foot three days later if it’s left up to the couple themselves to take pictures and release them,’ she said, referring to a Mother’s Day shot issued by the couple of their son on social media.
Sources close to the couple stressed that the christening of Archie, who is seventh in line to the throne, will be a ‘small, very intimate, family occasion’ and would be held in the Queen’s private chapel inside the castle itself – not St George’s Chapel, where the couple were married.
Royal aides have said the event will not be open to the public but photographs will be released afterwards to newspapers, websites, magazines and television, with further images being released on the couple’s Instagram page, Sussex Royal.
They stressed that given the venue –which is not open to the public and is within the ‘inner sanctum’ of Windsor Castle – it would be impossible to make it a public occasion. But acknowledging the massive global interest, aides said they would ‘happily’ release pictures of the day.
In all, there will be just 25 guests, including Archie’s godparents, who haven’t yet been revealed but are said to include a number of Harry and Meghan’s closest friends.
‘The pictures they issue are so stylised. People just want to see Harry, Meghan, the baby and the gown and the godparents, that’s all. It’s traditional. But there’s nothing wrong with a bit of traditional when it comes to a royal baby,’ Ingrid Seward added.
She continued: ‘I think this is quite Harry-led and it is putting Meghan in a very difficult position. She’s the one getting all the flak as a newcomer to the Royal Family. I assume Harry and Meghan don’t know where they are going wrong and think the criticism is all so very unfair.
‘But why wouldn’t they want the world to see their baby? I don’t think it is any skin off their nose.’
‘[Royal fans] won’t want an arty Instagram shot of Archie’s foot three days later,’ said an expert
On social media the reaction was more vituperative. One user said: ‘Private Christening but publicly funded’.
Another added: ‘Why are taxpayers paying nearly 3 Million for the Royals Harry and Meghan on there new home but they want private christening, you should be paying not taxpayers, put this to Public Vote.’
A third raged: ‘This is all fine. As long as we don’t pay for him. You can’t have it both ways. If you are private citizens don’t expect to be publicly funded.’
Many forget, however, that The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge kept Prince George’s christening at The Chapel Royal In St James’s Palace private. A Press Association photographer was present, however to capture a small number of images outside that were released to the media.
Photo issued by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex of their six-week-old son Archie Mountbatten-Windsor that was shared on their Instagram
A similar arrangement was put in place for Prince Louis’s christening at the same venue, with a small media contingency.
Only Princess Charlotte’s christening at Sandringham was public with members of the public invited to watch the royal party, family and godparents walk into the country church.
While the Queen won’t be present to see her eighth great-grandchild baptised due to a prior engagement, royals will be led by the baby’s grandfather, Prince Charles, and the Duchess of Cornwall, and include the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their family.
Last night there was a public backlash after the news earlier this week that £2.4million-worth of taxpayers’ money had been used to refurbish the duke and duchess’s official residence, Frogmore Cottage, in the Queen’s Windsor estate.
Insiders have suggested that the bill could come to between £2.8million and £3.2million.
So, who will they pick to be godparents?
Speculation is mounting over who Harry and Meghan will pick to become Archie’s godparents ahead of a private christening ceremony next weekend.
Between six and eight godparents are traditionally chosen for a royal baby and the tussle for who will make the cut is being fought between the Duke of Sussex’s blue-blooded friends and family and the Duchess’s showbiz companions.
On Meghan’s side, her oldest friend Jessica Mulroney, a famous stylist to the stars in Canada, is the firm favourite. Mrs Mulroney bonded with Meghan on the set of TV show Suits – in which the royal used to be an actress. Odds for the stylist becoming a godparent is 1/7, Ladbrokes estimates.
Speculation is mounting over who Harry and Meghan will pick to become Archie’s godparents. Meghan’s oldest friend Jessica Mulroney, a stylist to the stars in Canada, is a firm favourite
Meanwhile the second in line to become a godfather to eight-week-old Archie is Charlie Van Straubenzee, an investment executive and Prince Harry’s childhood friend.
Harry was Mr Straubenzee’s best man at his wedding to Daisy Jenks in August last year and Ladbrokes has him at 1/5 to become godfather and an official part of the Duke and Duchess’s inner circle.
Alex Apati of Ladbrokes said: ‘Jessica Mulroney and Charlie Van Straubenzee are seemingly nailed on to be Archie’s godparents but we wouldn’t be surprised to see some famous faces given the honour.’
The next most likely candidate to be chosen from Meghan’s friends is Misha Nonoo, who is widely believed to be the matchmaker who introduced her to Harry. Ladbrokes has the designer at 2/1. Other famous faces close to Meghan include George and Amal Clooney with lower odds of 5/1 – and Serena Williams is even lower at 11/2.
The royals have tended to steer clear of picking godparents from the family ranks, however. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge seem unlikely to become godparents – with odds at 7/2. And Harry’s cousin Zara Tindall and her husband Mark are at 10/1 – despite Harry being asked to be godfather to Zara’s daughter Mia.
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