The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have broken with tradition and chosen close friends, rather than grandees, to be godparents to their son Prince George. In keeping with their down-to-earth approach, the couple are believed to have picked friends out of the public eye to give their son a sense of normalcy as he grows up.
According to the Sunday Times, among those selected for the honour are William’s school friend Fergus Boyd and Kate’s Marlborough College friend Emilia d’Erlanger.
Hugh van Cutsem, one of the Prince’s oldest childhood friends, will also be a godfather.
Fergus, 31 – a partner at fund management firm Smith & Williamson – was in the same St Andrews hall of residence as the couple, and studied history of art with Kate.
The trio moved into a flat together in their second year and all shared Balgove House during the royal couple’s final two years at university.
Hugh van Cutsem
Emilia, also 31, is a long-term friend of William as well as a school friend of Kate. The co-founder of London-based interior design company D’Erlanger and Sloan, she is married to William’s old Etonian friend David Jardine-Paterson.
Hugh is the best known of the three with very close links to the royal family. William acted as an usher at his 2005 wedding to Rose Astor, and is also a godfather to their daughter Grace, who was a flower girl at the royal wedding.
The couple’s decision to choose friends is in stark contrast to William’s own godparents at his 1982 christening: former King Constantine of Greece, the Duchess of Westminster, Princess Alexandra, the Honourable Lady Ogilvy, Lady Susan Hussey, Lord Romsey and Sir Laurens van der Post.
The Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace
George’s christening will also eschew tradition. Rather than taking place in the music room at Buckingham Palace, the ceremony will be held in the more intimate Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace.
Poignantly, the couple have chosen the chapel where Princess Diana lay at rest before her funeral at Westminster Abbey; a touching tribute from William to his late mother.
The 60-strong guest list for the 23 October ceremony has already sparked controversy because of its omission of Anne, the Princess Royal, and the Countess of Wessex.
Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton
Just a handful of the couple’s closest family and friends will witness George being baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury after William and Kate decided on an “intimate” ceremony.
As well as Fergus, Emilia and Hugh, it is thought that the royal couple will ask Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton to act as godparents to their son.
They are currently heavy favourites to be given the honour, with odds of 1-33 and 1-20 respectively at bookmakers Coral.
Others in the running include David Beckham at 10-1, while his wife Victoria Beckham can also be backed at 20-1.
Princess Beatrice and her sister Princess Eugenie also feature in the list of most likely candidates, alongside Crown Prince Haakon of Norway, Lord Frederick Windsor, James Middleton and Laura Lopes, the daughter of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall.