IT WAS Princess Charlotte’s big day – but her big brother almost stole the show.
Charlotte was christened in front of the Queen and close family and friends, as the Cambridges had their first public outing as a family of four.
The nine-week-old was welcomed into the Christian faith, watched by proud parents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and older brother Prince George along with 21 other guests.
George arrived clutching his father’s hand, wearing red shorts in an outfit almost identical to the one worn by Prince William to meet his newborn brother Harry for the first time 30 years ago.
Meanwhile, great-grandparents the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, grandparents the Prince of Wales and Carole and Michael Middleton, step-grandmother the Duchess of Cornwall and Kate’s siblings Pippa and James Middleton joined Charlotte’s five godparents for the celebratory occasion at Church of St Mary Magdalene in Norfolk. The Archbishop of Canterbury the Most Rev Justin Welby performed the baptism – a must for royal babies – using the ornate silver gilt Lily Font which is part of the Crown Jewels.
The princess was christened using holy water from the River Jordan, where it is said Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist.
Unofficial estimates placed the number of well-wishing members of the public at around at 3,500 to see Charlotte pushed to the ceremony in a vintage Millson pram, once used by the Queen for the Duke of York and Earl of Wessex.
William held George’s hand as the prince, who is nearly two, waved at the crowds.
Music played at the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding was amongst the selections for the christening.
Vaughan Williams’ Prelude on Rhosymedre was processional organ music which William and Kate selected for their marriage ceremony at Westminster Abbey and used at the wedding of William’s parents the Prince of Wales and Diana, Princess of Wales in 1981.
William and Kate chose two hymns – Praise to the Lord, The Almighty and Come Down, O Love Divine – for their daughter’s traditional baptism service, as well as one lesson from Matthew 18, verses 1-5, read by Charlotte’s godfather James Meade.
Praise to the Lord, The Almighty was also sung at the national service celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation in Westminster Abbey in June 2013.
Hundreds of royal fans – some of whom camped out overnight – founds spots inside the paddock – the name given to the area outside the Norfolk church after William and Kate gave permission for the area to be open to the public – just like when the royals visit on Christmas Day.
Afterwards, guests gathered at Sandringham House for tea hosted by William and Kate, where they were served slices of christening cake, taken from a tier of their wedding cake.
Celebrity and fashion photographer Mario Testino took the official pictures.
Charlotte’s gown is a replica of the intricate lace and satin christening gown made for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter, Victoria, the Princess Royal, in 1841. The original is now too delicate to wear.
Prince Harry was missing from the event, having already left to spend three months in Africa, and other senior royals the Duke of York, who is abroad, Anne and the Earl of Wessex were also absent from the congregation just as they were from George’s baptism..