IT’S a landmark moment for any child and a celebration intended to bring friends and family together.
But for Meghan Markle, 40, and Prince Harry’s four-month-old daughter Lilibet Diana, speculation is still rife as to when and where the young royal’s christening will take place.
Traditionally a royal christening is an intimate family affair held in the historic chapels of Buckingham Palace or Windsor.
The Sussexes’ son Archie was christened in a quiet, private ceremony for around 25 guests in the private chapel at Windsor Castle on 6 July 2019.
Prince Harry’s own christening was held at St George’s Chapel – where he married Meghan – on 21 December 1984.
But after the Sussexes’ shock departure to America in 2019, a source has claimed Meghan and Harry will not christen their daughter in the UK, but could instead hold an Episcopal ceremony for their daughter in LA.
A palace source told The Telegraph that Meghan and Harry, 37, would not be bringing Lilibet over for a royal christening.
They said: “There will not be a christening in the UK. It is not happening.”
That decision would mark a startling break in tradition and make Lilibet the first of the Queen’s grandchildren or great-grandchildren not to receive a royal baptism within the church of England.
However, royal biographer and Editor of Majesty Magazine, Ingrid Seward, told The Sun she would be “surprised” if the couple opted for a Stateside christening.
Whether held in the hallowed halls of Windsor Castle or in Meghan and Harry’s new hometown of Santa Barbara, we take a look at what Lilibet Diana’s christening could be like – from A-lister godparents to decade long traditions.
A possible return
Ingrid says she would be “very surprised” if the Sussexes chose to have the christening in the US rather than the UK.
“Harry has seen such a long tradition of royal christenings and there’s nothing nicer than a royal christening and the beautiful long Honiton robe,” she tells The Sun.
“Harry’s great-grandmother is the Supreme Governor of the Church of England – and Meghan was inducted into the Church of England.
“If they wanted, Harry and Meghan could have it privately in the Chapel at Windsor Castle.
“The Queen is not going to say no, she may not be able to be there herself but she’s not going to say they can’t have it there.
“The only reason [it wouldn’t be held in the UK] would be if Meghan didn’t want to come over here with the baby.
“That would be the only reason I could think of.”
The Sussexes welcomed their second child Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor on June 4 2021 in Santa Barbara, California.
And while Meghan has spoken of her “beautiful” daughter since, the Sussexes have yet to share a public photograph of their baby girl.
Meghan and Harry are notoriously particular about their privacy, and likely to release minimal details around Lilibet’s baptism.
When their first child Archie Mountbatten Windsor was christened, press were not invited to take photos of the guests arriving, and only two official photos were released from the event.
If Meghan and Harry do decide on an American baptism, they may not publicly announce the date, or offer any details on the ceremony.
Ingrid suggests: “If it happens in the UK obviously people will find out, but if it happens [in California], I don’t know that there will be any official announcement.
“They’ll have their own Vogue cameraman there, there will definitely be photos but they may not release any.”
As christenings are often a close-knit affair, guests will certainly include family such as Meghan’s mum Doria Ragland, and their close American friends – and potentially a select few of Harry’s chums.
Though according to Ingrid, it’s unlikely the Queen, Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall or the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge would attend.
Ingrid observes: “If Lilibet is christened in America, maybe Harry’s friends would fly out.
“I don’t think any members of the immediate Royal Family would have time [to fly over]. Their schedules are organised six months in advance.”
An Episcopal ceremony would mean Lilibet was not an immediate member of the Church of England, but could later join an Anglican congregation if she came to the UK.
It would have no effect on Lilibet’s standing in the Firm.
Ingrid adds: “Lilibet is the great-grandchild of the Queen. She would still have her place in the Royal Family.”
Godparents are vital figures in any child’s life, and according to Ingrid, one of the “obvious” choices for Lilibet would be Princess Eugenie, 31.
The mum-of-one has remained close to the Sussexes since Megxit and recently lent her support to Meghan’s 40X40 Archewell mentorship programme.
Ingrid also muted the possibly of Zara or Mike Tindall.
“Harry introduced Zara to Mike,” she adds.
Now Meghan and Harry have moved across the pond, it’s possible there’ll be American godparents to watch over young Lilibet.
Ingrid says: “Usually with godparents you have friends of the mum and friends of the father. It’s tradition that you share.
“Meghan’s obviously got lots and lots of American friends.
“With godparents you usually want someone who you’ve known all your life.”
However, speculation is already rife that Hollywood royalty Oprah Winfrey will be asked to become Lilibet’s godmother.
After attending the couple’s wedding in 2018, and hosting Meghan and Harry’s explosive sit-down interview in February 2021, the talk show legend is definitely a favourite choice.
Meghan’s long-standing friend Jessica Mulroney could be another option for Lilibet’s American godmother.
Part of Meghan’s inner circle, Jessica’s daughter Ivy was one of Meghan’s bridesmaids at the royal wedding.
Meghan’s close friend Benita Litt could also be in the running.
Her daughters Rylan and Remi were also bridesmaids at the Royal Wedding in 2019. Benita Litt.
Not only is Benita – who runs a brand creation agency in the US – one of Meghan’s oldest friends, but the Duchess is also godmother to both of Benita’s daughters.
Royal babies are often given as many as six godparents, leaving plenty of room for Harry to choose godparents from his close friends.
Harry is thought to have given the nod to former nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke and friends Mark Dyer and Charlie von Straubenzee to be Archie’s godparents.
Royal family friend Jake Warren could appear on the Duke’s list.
As one of Diana’s godchildren, and the son of John Warren, the Queen’s former racing manager, Jake has close ties to both Prince Harry and the wider Royal Family.
But it’s unlikely that Prince William or Kate will be asked to step in as godparent to the young Lilibet, as the royal family does not tend to choose siblings to become godparents.
What will Lilibet wear?
If Lilibet’s christening does take place in America, it is unlikely the young royal will wear the handmade replica of the traditional Honiton robe, worn by royal babies for 11 years in a row, including Lilibet’s big brother Archie.
The history of his royal gown was explained by the Sussexes on their old Instagram account around the time of their son’s baptism.
The post read: “The original Royal Christening Robe, made of fine Honiton lace lined with white satin, was commissioned by Queen Victoria in 1841 and first worn by her eldest daughter.
“It was subsequently worn for generations of royal christenings, including the Queen, her children and her grandchildren until 2004, when the Queen commissioned this handmade replica, in order for the fragile historic outfit to be preserved, and for the tradition to continue.”
Ingrid says the royal heirloom would “definitely not” be shipped to California for an American christening.
Instead, if Lilibet does have a Californian christening, Meghan may opt for a simpler white dress or christening gown for her daughter, reflecting the casual style she’s been seen adopting around their home.
Icing on the cake
As for the all important christening cake, Meghan and Harry may choose to swerve a traditional dense fruitcake for something a little more suited to the Californian climate.
The cake could even come from Santa Barbara favourite Posies & Sugar, the bakery where Harry is believed to have bought Meghan’s special 40th birthday cake.
The upmarket bakery specialises in “naked” cakes, where the layers are still visible underneath a thin layer of icing.
The bakery’s cakes are often adorned with fresh flowers.