Royal baby christening - crowds gather, but details scarce

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have chosen celebrity portrait photographer Jason Bell to take the official pictures to mark the christening of their son Prince George.

Bell is renowned for his images of Hollywood stars and rock and pop legends like Sir Paul McCartney, actress Scarlett Johansson and former England footballer David Beckham.

The baptism of William and Kate's baby will be held tomorrow afternoon early Thursday morning NZ time in the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace.

A giant christening card, signed by 5,000 Christians, for Prince George and the royal family is outside Chapel Royal, St James's Palace in London.Photo / AP
A giant christening card, signed by 5,000 Christians, for Prince George and the royal family is outside Chapel Royal, St James's Palace in London.Photo / AP

Kensington Palace confirmed the commission of Bell in a statement, reading: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked Jason Bell to be the official photographer at the christening of their son, Prince George. Mr Bell will take the official photographs at Clarence House following the service in the Chapel Royal.

"Jason Bell is a well-established portrait photographer and his work has appeared in many of the world's foremost publications.

"Many of Jason's photos have been acquired for the National Portrait Gallery for their permanent collection. He has received a number of awards, including The Royal Photographic Society's Terence Donovan Award for outstanding contribution to photography and the Best British Black and White Photographer at the British Picture Editor's Awards.

"He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society in September 2011."

The photographs taken after the ceremony will be historic images that are expected to capture four generations of the royal family together.

The pictures will show the Queen with three future monarchs - the Prince of Wales, William and George.

It will echo the picture taken in July 1894 during the christening of the future Edward VIII, showing the royal baby with his father, later George V, grandfather, the future Edward VII, and great grandmother, Queen Victoria.

Bell's images have been featured in the National Portrait Gallery and published in glossy magazines like Vogue and Vanity Fair.

William and Kate's three-month-old baby will be welcomed into the Christian faith surrounded by his immediate family and the close friends of his parents.

The first official family photograph taken by Michael Middleton, the Duchess's father. Photo / AP
The first official family photograph taken by Michael Middleton, the Duchess's father. Photo / AP

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, who has already spoken of the "great privilege and honour" of baptising George, said today he hoped that others will be inspired to seek the same ceremony for themselves and their children.

"As a nation we're celebrating the birth of someone who in due course will be the head of state.

"That's extraordinary. It gives you this sense of forward looking, of the forwardness of history as well as the backwardness of history, and what a gift to have this new life and to look forward."

Check out the pictures as the royal fans gather for the ceremony:

The guest list has not been released but Kensington Palace has said that 'close members of both families' will attend.

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are expected to be at the christening along with Charles, who has become a grandfather for the first time, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry.

Kate's family - parents Carole and Michael Middleton and siblings Pippa and James - are likely to be invited, along with the godparents who have not been publicly named.

There has been speculation about who the Cambridges might choose to be their son's godparents. Close friends Hugh van Cutsem and Thomas van Straubenzee are thought to be in the running along with Old Etonian James Meade.

Read more about godparent rumours here.

In past decades, senior royal babies - the Queen, Charles and William - have been christened at Buckingham Palace.

But the Cambridges have chosen the Chapel Royal, where the coffin of the Duke's mother, Diana, Princess of Wales, lay before her funeral.

Inside the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace in central London, where Prince George of Cambridge will be christened.Photo / AP
Inside the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace in central London, where Prince George of Cambridge will be christened.Photo / AP


Princess Beatrice was the last well known royal baby to be christened at St James's Palace, in December 1988.

George will be christened in a replica of the intricate lace and satin christening gown made for Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, Victoria, the Princess Royal, in 1841.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex's son, Viscount Severn, became the first royal baby to wear the new robe at his christening in 2008.

Take a look at the first pictures the world saw of Prince George:

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- DAILY MAIL

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