On Saturday, the newest member of the Royal Family, Archie Harrison, will be christened.
Typically, when a royal baby is christened, his or her godparents are announced in a statement from Buckingham Palace — as was the case for all of Archie’s first cousins, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis.
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However, according to reports, it may not be the same for Meghan Markle and Prince Harry’s son.
On Wednesday, royal expert Omid Scobie shared a statement he had received from Buckingham Palace to Twitter.
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In it, the Royal Family confirmed that Archie Harrison will be christened in the private chapel at Winsdor Castle on July 6. They also announced that “the godparents, in keeping with the parents’ wishes, will remain private.”
This isn’t surprising for fans of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex — the pair have been notoriously private since getting married last May.
Thankfully, eagle-eyed royal watchers can expect the couple to share photos of Archie at his christening, which will be the first time the world gets a glimpse of the baby’s face.
Markle and Prince Harry have previously shared two photos of the baby, but neither featured his entire face.
The first, shared to the couple’s Instagram account in honour of Mother’s Day, was of Archie’s small feet in Markle’s hands. The second, which the couple posted to Instagram for Father’s Day, was of Archie’s eyes — but the rest of his face was shielded by his father’s hand.
The rules of the Church of England
Despite the couple’s wishes to keep their choices private, it could be that Archie’s godparents are revealed anyway due to the rules of the Church of England.
According to the U.K.’s National Archives, the Parochial Registers and Records Measure was passed in 1978.
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This means baptism records — including the names of godparents — are a matter of public record and can be searched by anyone.
However, the Queen may overrule the 1978 measure if she wishes because the private chapel at Windsor Castle — where Archie is to be christened — is known as a Royal Peculiar.
This means it belongs directly to the monarch and not to any diocese. Therefore, it doesn’t come under the jurisdiction of a bishop.
The top picks for Archie’s godparents
According to royal expert Victoria Arbiter, the role of a royal godparent is to offer friendship and guidance throughout the child’s “spiritual journey.”
“It’s likely we’ll see close friends of Harry and Meghan, close friends of Diana and her family and, perhaps, close friends of Prince Charles, too,” Arbiter said of the royal baby’s potential godparents.
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The goal is to give the child access to several unique perspectives throughout his or her life.
A clear front-runner is Markle’s close friend Jessica Mulroney, according to Arbiter.
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(Eugenie’s mother, Sarah Ferguson, divorced from Prince Andrew in 1996.)
Arbiter also expects to see a few of Harry’s close friends, as well as a cousin or aunt from his mother’s side of the family, included in the list of potential godparents.
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Alternatively, Harry may pick his childhood nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke.
“She was an amazing support when Diana died,” Arbiter said.
What we know about the christening
The event will reportedly be extremely private, with just 25 of the couple’s close friends and family members — including Archie’s godparents — in attendance, a royal source told People.
This is typical of royal christenings, which have historically been very private affairs.
At Prince Louis’ christening in July 2018, only 21 people close to the baby were in attendance.
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During the ceremony, Archie will probably be christened using the Lily Font, a silver baptismal bowl in the form of a blooming flower.
The font was originally commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1840 and has been used for all royal christenings since.
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It is one of only two English silver fonts — the other was made in 1660 for King Charles II.
After the ceremony, guests will likely be invited to enjoy afternoon tea hosted by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
According to the Royal Family, it’s customary that guests indulge in the christening cake, which is a tier taken from the wedding cake of the christened child’s mother and father.
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Though unconfirmed, the Sunday Times reported that Archie will wear a replica of the historic royal christening gown originally used for the baptism of Princess Victoria in 1841.
According to the Royal Family, the original gown was commissioned by Queen Victoria and worn by 62 royal babies, including Queen Elizabeth, Prince William and Prince Harry.
In 2008, Queen Elizabeth commissioned a replica by her dressmaker Angela Kelly in order to preserve the original.
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James, Viscount Severn, was the first member of the Royal Family to wear this replica gown at his christening at the private chapel at Windsor Castle in the same year.
Archie’s cousins, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, all wore the replica at their respective christenings.