TO SOME PEOPLE the christening of a baby girl may be an unremarkable event – a religious ritual which is more about pomp and ceremony than spiritual significance.
However, the christening of HRH Princess Charlotte at St Mary Magdalene Church, Sandringham, by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, on July 5 was a national event with a tremendous meaning for the United Kingdom.
As the UK increasingly shrugs off Christianity through secular-led changes in cultural beliefs, this very traditional baby baptism is a powerful proclamation, saying, ‘Jesus Christ is still Lord’. It marks a moment of protecting Christian heritage in the midst of a pluralistic society.
Before the event, Archbishop Justin Welby said: “I am delighted to be invited to conduct the baptism of Princess Charlotte. It will be an extraordinary honour and privilege to help welcome the Princess into the family of the church. Along with her parents and all her family, I look forward to joining in this joyful day of celebration and thanksgiving.”
Her Royal Highness Princess Charlotte of Cambridge was baptised in front of the Head of the Anglican Communion, the Queen herself – as well as great-grandfather, the Duke of Edinburgh; parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge; and grandparents, the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall. Last but by no means least – older brother, Prince George, the future heir to the throne. Michael and Carole Middleton, the other grandparents, were also in attendance.
The church has hosted previous royal baptisms, including Diana, Princess of Wales – the deceased grandmother of Princess Charlotte. Other royal Christenings in the church have been King George VI (1896), Mary, Princess Royal (1897), King Olav V of Norway (1903), Prince John (1905), Diana, Princess of Wales (1961), and Princess Eugenie of York (1990).