Prince Philip: Princess Anne recalls hilarious fishing swipe
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their daughter Lilibet to the world in June. Speculation has surrounded her christening ever since, as the religious ceremony is an entrenched tradition for those born into the Royal Family. The Queen, as head of the Church of England, is acutely aware of the spiritual importance of the rite.
However, as the Sussex family now live in the US, it remains unclear, at the moment, where young Lili will be christened.
Some reports have suggested the Sussexes are keen for Lili to be baptised in the UK with Her Majesty present.
Lili’s older brother Archie was christened wearing the royal christening gown by the Archbishop of Canterbury in July 2019 in Windsor Castle’s private chapel.
Harry was also christened at Windsor Castle as a baby, in the St George’s Chapel.
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An energetic Prince William stole the show at his brother’s christening.
Harry’s big day, however, caused some major rows within the Royal Family.
Things escalated so badly that Princess Anne did not attend, the Daily Express’ royal correspondent Ashley Walton reported at the time.
Harry had six godparents, like his older brother Prince William. Angela Levin wrote in her book ‘Harry: Conversations with the Prince’ that Princess Diana had been annoyed that she could not choose William’s godparents.
Prince Charles and the Queen had insisted William’s godparents, with one exception, were “part of the royal establishments, relatives of the Royal Family or aristocrats”.
Prince Charles and Princess Diana with baby Harry.
Ms Levin wrote Diana had more leeway with Harry’s godparents, but still had to seek the Queen’s approval. Two of her initial suggestions were rejected, but their replacements were approved.
The final list was: Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones (later Chatto); Prince Andrew; Diana’s former flatmate Carolyn Bartholomew; the Queen’s friend Lady Celia Vestey; Bryan Organ and Gerald Ward — both friends of Prince Charles.
Princess Anne was not chosen, nor had she been chosen to be one of William’s godparents.
She and her then-husband Mark Phillips did not attend after a “full-scale family row”, Mr Walton reported.
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Charles and Diana with their two sons.
A Buckingham Palace statement at the time said: “Unfortunately neither of them could make it. They will be arriving in Windsor later in the day.”
The official line was that Anne and Mark had a prior engagement that had been in place long before the christening date and that they could not miss it.
Mr Walton, however, claimed Anne refused to attend, and went shooting instead.
He said: “Her displeasure grew into a full-scale family row when she learned that her younger brother Andrew was to be godfather to three-month old Prince Harry, while she was again omitted.
Princess Anne allegedly refused to attend Harry’s christening.
“The christening was postponed time and time again as Anne kept turning down proposed dates because she was ‘too busy’.”
He continued: “The Royal Family confidently expected Anne and Mark to arrive yesterday for the 11am ceremony. But as the baby was being baptised, the guns were blazing 100 miles away at Gatcombe Park.”
Mr Walton also claimed that the Princess Royal’s omission had angered Prince Philip.
He wrote: “There were rumours that Charles and his father were not on speaking terms as a result.”
Anne’s absence was not the end of it, Ms Levin wrote.
A “tactless” comment from Prince Charles allegedly spoiled the day for Princess Diana.
Diana told Andrew Morton in 1991: “Charles went to talk to my mother at Harry’s christening and said: ‘We were so disappointed — we thought it would be a girl.’
“Mummy snapped his head off, saying: ‘You should realise how lucky you are to have a child that’s normal.’
“Ever since that day, the shutters have come down — and that’s what he does when he gets somebody answering back at him.”