Duchess Kate wears Alexander McQueen for Princess Charlotte's christening
Princess Charlotte of Cambridge was christened Sunday afternoon at St. Mary Magdalene, Sandringham, right by the Queen's estate in Norfolk. It was an intimate affair with only the Queen, Prince Philip, The Middletons, Waleses, and the god-parents (and spouses) present. And Nanny Maria, of course.
Much has been made of the Cambridges' choice to baptize Charlotte away from London. I think a lot of factors played into the decision. It is widely agreed that a motivating force was that the little princess's grandmother and namesake, Princess Diana, was christened at St. Mary Magdalene, too. It is widely known that William and Kate are keen to keep that connection alive and meaningful to their children. This church, though, also is in keeping with William and Kate's current focus on their family. Away from the bustle of the capital, near the home in which they are raising their family, it fit perfectly into their current lifestyle. The royals were also able to include their loyal public in their joy, which they seem happy to do when they are able to accommodate crowds.
Photo: Matt Dunham - WPA Pool/Getty Images
It was quite the Victorian event. I had never really thought much about the interior of St. Mary Magdalene, but in the run-up to the service, multiple news outlets were rolling specials on the church, and guess what, it is gorgeous inside! It should be no surprise, I suppose. Dating from the 16th century (in present form), St. Mary Magdalene has been the family church of the BRF in Norfolk since Victoria bought Sandringham Estate in 1862.
Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire
At an undisclosed time and under guard, the priceless silver baptismal font, called the Lily Font thanks to its design in the shape of the delicate flower, was transported from London to Norfolk. The font was commissioned by Victoria and Albert in 1840. Baptism is the sacrament in which the soul is washed clean of original sin, and so the lily's symbolism of purity is thematic. The Royal Collection describes the piece:
Christening font with a bowl in the form of an expanded flower with a border of water-liles and leaves; stem formed of leaves, flanked at the base by three seated cherubs playing lyres upon a circular plinth with coats of arms and supporters.
Princess Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa was baptized using the font on February 10, 1841, depicted here by C.R. Leslie. If you want to know more about the font, pop over to the Royal Collection website here. They have more details and some high resolution photos.
George walked hand-in-hand with his daddy, while Kate pushed Princess Charlotte in her pram. George really has no problem with the crowds, only interested curiosity. Unlike at the hospital, he was happy to walk and wave, and actually had to be carried from the church after the baptism because he was running about a little too confidently.
Let's talk a little bit about the fashion. As I suspected, Kate debuted a new ensemble for this christening, wearing a custom McQueen coat and dress, Jane Taylor hat, and Russell & Bromley court shoes in a sensible mid-heel. She was wearing her Cartier watch and debuted Mappin & Webb "Empress" pendant earrings that matched her "Empress" pendant necklace. I know that most are guessing these were a recent gift, but I am inclined to think she probably got the earrings and necklace as a set, but is only now wearing them together. Sets can look very matchy match,y and to me that kind of coordination is better suited to a formal event, such as today, or like at the Afghanistan Service:
Photo: Press Association
I wondered who would snag the milliner's slot, and with this commission, I think that Jane Taylor has solidified her place as the Queen of Toppers. This percher shares the same style as George's christening beret and the Fleur Ruffle Beret Kate wore in Belgium. I loved George's christening hat, but I think today's version edges out its predecessor because it is a little crisper. That bit of netting on the 2013 has always bothered me in pictures.
McQueen has once again dressed Kate close to perfection, although in a completely different style to the first christening ensemble. Unlike the young and flirty feel of Kate's ruffle-suit, this entire ensemble is very vintage, sophisticated, and elegant, as appropriate for the occasion and Kate's position. It was very beautiful. I loved the sharp pleat in the back that gave the coat some swing.
At first I was not in love with that neckline. V-neck is my favorite, but the lapels on this didn't seem to match the structure of the rest of the piece. On closer inspection, however, they work very well with the multiple darts on this coat, and as is not unusual, Sarah Burton has gotten it right again. I would very much love to see the dress underneath, which must have either a corresponding v-neck, or something that doesn't get in the way of the coat...so, probably pretty gorgeous!
Of course, it was a delight to see Kate's family. Carole appears to be wearing a coat not unlike the style she wore to the Royal Wedding. It looks very Catherine Walker to me. Her shoes and clutch are Emmy London, *I think*. As you know, Kate has a number of the label's accessories in her closet, and we know how the Middleton women like to shop at the same stores.
Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
Pippa picked a customized Emilia Wickstead. That high neckline is bold, and I love that she wore something out of the norm. Wickstead is, of course, also a Kate favorite. She seems to specialize in two extremes: whimsical prints and sharply tailored pieces. This was the latter and I loved it. Pips's shoes and clutch are purportedly Charlotte Olympia.
After the christening, both families returned to the Queen's home for a tea that included one of the tiers from William and Kate's wedding cake. George was feeling a little rambunctious post service, and he was charmingly underfoot, darting beneath the adults and peeking into the pram at his little sister. The tot made a break for freedom on the walk back, and William and Kate had a little family moment as the delighted grandparents looked on with amusement:
Photo: Mary Turner - WPA Pool/Getty Images
Verdict: Perfect. Today was like watching an idyllic old movie, or flipping through a picture book. The classic fashion, the green grass and cheery sunshine...it was a masterpiece. Of course, it helped that the day has such very special meaning. In Christian theology, baptism is the event at which a child (or adult) is reborn spiritually and welcomed into the family of Christ. So, today is Princess Charlotte's "second" birthday! The entirely different venue, location, and sartorial style strongly distinguished this christening from George's, which is nice for Charlotte, I think. Isn't she lovely? I think the Middleton genes are very strong.
Photo: Chris Jackson/Getty Images
We will be seeing Kate in just a few days. Could we be more spoiled? Click through above for more photos of Charlotte's big day!