A portrait of a modern monarchy: Informal picture shows happy
and relaxed Royal Family rubbing shoulders with the Middletons
- Official photography has a relaxed and happy ambience at odds with formal portraits of yesteryear
- Middletons – the descendants of coal miners – stand side-by-side with Dukes, Princes and the Queen
- They were taken by celebrity photographer Jason Bell
It is a fascinating blend of well-trodden history and social mobility.
Clustered around a Chippendale sofa in the sunbathed Morning Room of Clarence House, this new group photograph of the Windsor and Middleton dynasties is arguably the most intriguing of the christening portraits released yesterday.
Despite the Queen’s presence and the rather Victorian familial grouping, there is a decidedly relaxed air to the picture, a portrait of a Royal Family for the modern age.
Indeed, aside from the Queen, the most magisterial figure is the Duchess of Cambridge’s younger brother James, whose beard makes him look uncannily like his nephew’s great, great, great-grandfather, King George V, or even a younger looking Prince Michael of Kent.
The official portrait for the christening of Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge, photographed in The Morning Room at Clarence House in London yesterday
Joyful: Prince George appears happy and healthy with his mother and father, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Kate’s family – her former air hostesses turned multi-millionaire entrepreneur mother, Carole, genial father Michael, and scene-stealing sister, Pippa – are positioned around Prince William.
In contrast Kate, whose ancestors were Durham coal miners and men of the soil, is grouped with the rest of the Royal Family – a dapper-looking Duke of Edinburgh, belying his 92 years and recent ill-health, grandparents Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, and a cheeky-looking doting uncle Prince Harry.
One can only assume that celebrity photographer Jason Bell, whose previous subjects have included David Beckham and actress Scarlett Johansson, diplomatically chose to place them that way rather than give an impression of ‘them and us’.
Proud parents William and Kate also pose for a charming frame by themselves with their son.
And as royal waves go, it isn’t a bad effort.
Indeed, at the age of just three months His Royal Highness Prince George of Cambridge shows a heartening enthusiasm for what will become a royal stock in trade.
Four generations: The current monarch, surrounded by Britain’s three future figureheads
Sat up on his delighted mother’s lap, his adorably chubby cheeks peeking out from the voluminous swathes of his Honiton lace christening gown, the new third in line to the throne is an unquestionably bonny lad.
Dressed in ruffled cream Alexander Queen and a Jane Taylor hat, his mother looks beautiful – as usual – although on closer inspection her eyes bear the battlescar bags so familiar of all new mothers.
William is clearly a proud dad and, leaning close in to his wife, a proud husband too.
But unlike his first official snapshot, so memorably taken by his grandfather, Michael Middleton, on a humble ‘sureshot’ in the family back garden, this first portrait is a more stilted affair.
The portraits were taken in The Morning Room at Clarence House, which was once the Breakfast Room in John Nash’s original design for the Duke of Clarence in 1825.
It is an elegant drawing room whose windows allow the light to flood in, bathing its occupants and furniture in a flattering glow.
The christening group is seated around a sofa which is part of a much-admired suite of gilt-wood seat furniture by Thomas Chippendale which dates from about 1773.
It is thought to have been commissioned by George III’s brother (the Duke of Gloucester) and was in the Royal Collection by the Reign of George IV.
On the cabinet visible to the left of the sofa is a bronze bust of Princess Elizabeth made by William Lamb in 1933. A matching bust of Princess Margaret is on the opposite side of the room.
On the wall above this cabinet to the left of the sofa is a portrait painted in oil ‘Their Royal Highnesses The Princess Elizabeth and The Princess Margaret in Windsor Great Park’, 1945, by Frederic Whiting.
There are also two photographs, alternatively visible in the images. One is of The Prince of Wales and Prince Harry in a Zulu Village – South Africa 1997.
Charles took his youngest son to the country in his half-term holiday of October that year following the tragic death of his mother just weeks earlier.
A further photograph of Prince Harry is also visible on a side table.
On the rear wall to the left of the window there is an oil on canvas painting entitled: ‘A Conversation Piece at Aintree: King George V and his Racing Manager’, c.1927-30, by Walter Richard Sickert. Beneath this is a painting by Laurence Stephen Lowry entitled ‘A Flyde Farm’, 1943.
On the rear wall to the right of the window is an oil on canvas painting entitled: ‘When Homer Nods: Portrait of George Bernard Shaw’ by Augustus Edwin John, 1915.
Beneath this is an oil on canvas painting entitled “The Lighthouse, Newhaven” by Duncan James Grant, c1939.
Clarence House is currently the official residence of Prince Charles and his wife, who moved in following the Queen Mother’s death in 2002.
It’s Prince George’s day! Royal family and godparents arrive at St James’ Palace for christening of Kate and William’s baby son
- The world able to see Prince George in public for the first time in three months as he arrived to be christened
- Royal fans braved the wind and rain and slept on street in London to be outside St James’s Palace today
- George to be baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Chapel Royal this afternoon
- Guest list was secret until today and in break from tradition most of uncles, aunts and cousins not invited
- The Queen and Duke of Edinburgh celebrating with the Prince of Wales,the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry
- Kate’s family also there the Queen with three future monarchs – Charles, William and George together
- George will be baptised using water from the River Jordan in a replica of royal christening robe first made in 1841
- Christening followed by tea at Clarence House served with slices of Kate and William’s wedding cake from 2011
Prince George and his parents the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are at St James Palace for the christening of the future king.
Outside St James’s Palace crowds gathered to catch a glimpse of the heir the throne, who was seen in public for only the second time since he was born in July.
The three-month-old prince, wearing a long christening robe, was carried by his mother and father who joined the handful of relatives attending his baptism, which has been described as an ‘intimate family affair’.
Only five senior royals, the Queen, The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry will see the heir to the throne baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, in the little known Chapel Royal this afternoon.
Scroll down for live video
Sweet child: The public got the chance to see three-month-old Prince George as he was taken into St James Palace for his christening today
Smiling and happy: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge grinned at their family as they held their young prince
Grinning dad: The Duke of Cambridge arrived holding his first-born son Prince George who will one day be king
Touching: William and Kate laugh uproariously as they speak to Her Majesty the Queen, who is George’s great-grandmother
Kate’s family – parents Carole and Michael Middleton and siblings Pippa and James – are also invited, along with the godparents.
It came as the Cambridges revealed they have chosen old friends and only one royal, Zara Tindall, to be godparents to three-month-old George.
Meanwhile royal well-wishers have spent a rain-soaked night outside St James’s Palace but thankfully the dark clouds, which had threatened to taint the big day during the morning, cleared just in time.
Tourists and royal-watchers stood five-people deep against the railings in an autumnal St James’s Park, as the sun shone down on Pall Mall.
Many of the fans, draped in Union Flags, have returned to London three months after spending weeks sleeping outside the Lindo Wing in Paddington where the heir to the throne was born on July 22.
Break in the clouds: After standing in wet, windy conditions crowds gathered in the Autumn sunshine at St James Palace to see the future king
Glowing mother: Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge rubs the arm of her young son Prince George as he sits patiently in his car seat
Grandparents: Michael and Carole Middleton seen arriving for the christening of Prince George at the central London palace
Loving uncle and auntie: Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton grinned as they waled towards the historic chapel where George would be baptised
Prince George’s day: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and future king Prince George in his car seat head off to the christening this afternoon
Special occasion: Beaming parents, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, leave for the christening on a significant day for them and their son Prince George
Proud parents: Kate sat next to their three-month-old child while they couple were swept to St James Palace this afternoon
Anxious mother: The Duchess of Cambridge was seen to lean over and talk to little Prince George as they arrived at the palace ahead of his 3pm christening today
Royal arrival: Prince Charles is driven to the christening of his first grandchild Prince George at St James’s Palace in London this afternoon
Proud uncle and godmother: Prince Harry, left, followed by a smiling Mike Tindell and his wife Zara, head to join other guests at the baptism to be carried out by the Archbishop of Canterbury
Prince George’s great-grandparents, HM The Queen and the Duke of Edinnburgh, arrived just before the baby’s christening at St James’s Palace this afternoon
The Bishop of London, the Rt Revd Richard Chartres, who preached the sermon at the royal wedding, is Dean of the Chapel Royal, where Prince George was christened this afternoon
The Archbishiop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, who was to christen the young prince, arriving at St James’s Palace with his wife, Caroline
PRINCE GEORGE CHRISTENING AT ST. JAMES CHAPEL TODAY
It is an important moment in the life of any first-time parent. And today, as the Duchess of Cambridge arrived for the christening of her son George, she certainly looked the part.
Stylish in a stunning cream ruffled suit by ALexander McQueen, the same designer behind her wedding dress, Kate paused with William, carrying Prince George, at the entrance of St James’s chapel where they were greeted by the Archbishop.
With its rippling ruffle detail Kate’s cream suit – and indeed, the cream outfits of Pippa and Camilla – perfectly complemented the Honiton lace christening gown worn by George today.
The two were among the last to arrive at St James’s Palace today after a procession of godparents arrived with their partners followed by the the Middletons, including Pippa Middleton in cream trapeze coat by British designer Suzannah Fashion and hat by Edwina Ibbotson, and mother Carol in floral-print navy and cream.
Momentous occasion: The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with their son Prince George arrive at Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace where they are welcomed by the Archbishop of Canterbury
Given that it was a very private christening, the gathering today was very small – just 24 guests were invited, with the list made of up close family members and godparents, the list of which was announced this morning.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose old friends rather than other royals and dignitaries to be godparents to three-month-old Prince George, it was announced today.
Prince William’s cousin Zara Tindall is the only member of the royal family to be godparent, while Kate’s old schoolfriend Emilia Jardine-Paterson and family friend William van Cutsem have both been asked to take on the role.
Intimate moment: Kate and Wills were accompanied only by their closest family members and chosen godparents
Dream in cream: The duchess chose an outfit by the same designer who created her beautiful wedding gown
Stylish: Kate wore a hat by Jane Taylor, a milliner she has used on many occasions before
Proud mother: The Duchess of Cambridge arrives for Prince George’s christening at St James’s Palace today
The other godparents are the couple’s university friend Oliver Baker, William and Harry’s Private Secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, the Duke of Westminster’s son Hugh Grosvenor, and Julia Samuel, an old friend of Princess Diana’s.
The godparents and their spouses made up a crowd of around 24 people at this afternoon’s service.
Not only have the Cambridges ignored protocol by only inviting five senior royals, they have also broken from tradition by not having their son christened at Buckingham Palace.
Instead the future king will be carried and blessed by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby, in the little known Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace this afternoon.
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were married there in 1840, and George will be christened in a replica of the intricate Honiton lace and satin christening gown made for Victoria’s eldest daughter, Victoria, the Princess Royal, in 1841.
Intimate: The little-known Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace has been chosen for Prince George’s christening
The baby’s grandfather, Prince Charles, is one of five senior royals to be invited to Prince George’s christening
Prince George’s godmother Zara Tindall arrived at St James’s Palace this afternoon driven by husband, Mike
PRINCE GEORGE’S GUIDING LIGHTS: MEET THE GODPARENTS
Godparents: William’s cousin Zara Tindall and Kate’s schoolfriend Emilia Jardine-Paterson have been asked
Oliver Baker, pictured with Prince William at Cheltenham races, went to St Andrew’s University with the couple
Trusted: Willam van Cutsem, 34, and Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, 52, have both been asked to be godparents
Godparents: Diana’s old friend Julia Samuel, 54, left, and the Duke of Westminster’s son Hugh Grosvenor, 22
The friend of Diana: Julia Samuel
The Honourable Mrs Michael Samuel, 54, was a close friend of the late Diana, Princess of Wales. A mother of four who lives in west London, her son Benjamin, now 23, was one of Diana’s godsons.
Mrs Samuel is a psychotherapist and counsellor at St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, where she helps families who have lost a child or baby.
Julia Samuel (nee Guinness), seen with Diana in 1993, met her at a dinner party and they became firm friends
She helped launch Child Bereavement UK, a charity for families who lose a child or for children who are bereaved, in the presence of Diana. William is now one of the charity’s patrons.
Born Julia Guiness, her sister Sabrina was a girlfriend of Prince Charles. Mrs Samuel is married to businessman Michael,60, and their children are in their 20s.
The only member of the royal family: Zara Tindall
Married to rugby player Mike Tindall, with whom she is expecting their first baby early next year, Zara,32, is William’s first cousin and the only member of the royal family to be asked to be godparent.
A down-to-earth event rider who enjoys a drink and is happiest in a pair of scruffy jodhpurs and a fleece, gregarious Zara will help bring a sense of normality into the life of the future King. She won a team silver eventing medal at London’s 2012 Olympics.
Zara, pictured with her rugby-playing husband Mike Tindall, will help keep Prince George’s feet on the ground
Zara, who is said to be a particular favourite of her grandmother, the Queen, married Mr Tindall not at Westminster Abby but at Canongate Kirk in Edinburgh in 2011. She pledged to honour, not obey, and kept her maiden name, Phillips, for work.
The obligatory van Cutsem: William van Cutsem
No royal occasion is complete these days without a member of this large Catholic family of Norfolk landowners, and William, 34, is the youngest of the late Hugh and Emilie van Cutsem’s four sons.
Educated, like his father, who was a close friend of the Prince of Wales, at Ampleforth, William is the only Catholic godparent and a childhood friend of Prince William.
William, seen here in 1995 with the two princes and their former nanny Tiggy Legge Bourke is an old friend
In May this year William married Rosie Ruck-Keene in the village of Ewelme, south Oxfordshire. Prince Wililam, who reportedly dated Rosie in 2007 when he briefly split from Kate, attended the wedding with his heavily-pregnant wife.
Wililam’s niece Rose van Custem was a flower girl at the royal wedding and was seen covering her ears when the crowds outside Buckingham Palace roared as Kate and William kissed.
The trusted aide: Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton
The 52-year-old former SAS Major, who has been a private secretary to William and Harry since 2005, has been a constant help and confidant to the young princes.
Married with four children and living in a pretty old rectory in Suffolk, Mr Lowther-Pinkerton was the most senior member of William’s team until he resigned as from his full-time post last month, becoming a one-day-a-week consultant, instead.
Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, seen here with Kate, has been a close confidant for both William and his brother
Trained at Sandhurst, the discreet former Irish Guard was attached to the SAS for two decades and served in the Gulf War, where he gained a reputatuion as a particularly capable officer.
He was equerry to the Queen Mother from 1984-1986, and has also run risk management training courses for journalists and travellers, schooling them in what to do if you are shot at and how to avoid being kidnapped.
The landowner’s son who likes to party: Hugh Grosvenor
At 22, Hugh Grosvenor is the youngest of Prince George’s godparents
Hugh, Earl Grosvenor, is son and heir of the Duke of Westminster, one of Britain’s richest people, and aged just 22, he will be Prince George’s youngest godparent.
The former Newcastle University student celebrated turning 21 in February last year with a lavish party at his parents’ pile Eaton Hall, near Chester, with entertainment from comedian Michael McIntyre and music from hip hop duo, the Rizzle Kicks.
Prince Harry attended the party, which was estimated to have cost several million pounds.
The Duke of Westminster’s land covers the most expensive real estate in Britain and includes 100 acres of Mayfair and 200 acres of Belgravia.
Hugh’s sister, Lady Tamara, married Wililam van Cutsem’s eldest brother Ed, 40, in 2004.
Unlike his father, who went to Eton, Hugh, Earl Grosvenor went to a state primary school followed by a private day school near his country home.
The Marlborough schoolfriend: Emilia Jardine-Paterson
Emilia, whose maiden name was d’Erlanger and who comes from Tiverton in Devon, has known Prince William since she was 19 and Kate for even longer having also attended private school Marlborough College with her.
She and the Duchess are extremely close, and they went to Ibiza together when the now-married couple split-up in 2007.
Emilia Jardine-Paterson, pictured on her wedding day with husband David, has known William and Kate for years
A talented interior designer, she is said to be helping the Cambridges renovate their apartment at Kensington Palace, which would include decorating Prince George’s bedroom.
She is married to David Jardine-Paterson, who will also be at the christening today, who is heir to a powerful Scottish land-owning family.
The friend from St Andrew’s: Oliver Baker
Oliver Baker, 31, known as Ollie to his closest friends, was part of the couple’s trusted inner circle formed when they all studied together at St Andrew’s University.
George’s now-godfather shared accommodation with them in the Scottish university town and was so attached to the area he married his wife Mel there. She will also be at St James’s Palace today.
Oliver Baker, seen here with wife Mel at a friend’s wedding, was at St Andrew’s with William and Kate