While Prince George’s christening paid subtle tributes to Princess Diana throughout, in many ways her memory also reflected how much the monarchy has moved with the times. Right from the moment the venue was announced it was clear that Prince William and Kate wanted to do things their own way.
The new parents decided to forgo the grandeur of Buckingham Palace for the more intimate Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace.
Just 23 guests joined them at the ceremony compared to the large gathering at William’s baptism in 1982. Afterwards, he was whisked away by his nanny Barbara Barnes while lunch was served.
Diana, who was terrifically young at 21, said no one had thought to ask her if the timing would suit her son’s schedule. The result was that baby William complained grumpily causing the Queen Mother to joke: “He has a good set of lungs”.
His mother tried anxiously to soothe him with the tip of her finger.
Around her, the godparents, many of them chosen for their links to Prince Charles’ family, looked on.
King Constantine, Princess Alexandra and Lord Romsey were drawn from his among his relatives. Lady Hussey was the Queen Mother’s confidante.
Writer Laurens van der Post was Charles’ 76-year-old mentor. Only Natalia, Duchess of Westminster, then 23, was Diana’s choice.
In contrast, Wednesday was service was held at a baby-friendly 3pm and Kate looked fresh and relaxed when she arrived wearing an elegant cream Alexander McQueen outfit. The new mum also admitted to being “very excited”.
Meanwhile, the list of godparents was mostly made up of the couple’s university and school friends. Even the most recognisable name – Zara Phillips, the daughter of Princess Anne, has no title.
Afterwards George’s seven godparents and their spouses joined the royal family for a champagne reception in Clarence House hosted by Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall.
The Dean of the Chapel Royal Richard Chartres said: “Ah, he behaved!” Meanwhile, the Queen was heard to remark: “It was very nice though, wasn’t it”