Princess Diana's spirit to guide baby Charlotte's christening
London, July 5: The christening ceremony of nine-week-old Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana will be guided by the spirit of her late grandmother Princess Diana.
Diana, mother of 33-year-old Prince William was christened in the same church on Queen Elizabeth II's Sandringham estate in 1961.
Though the service was to be conducted behind closed doors, it will be documented by celebrity photographer Mario Testino, who was close to Diana and took some of the most famous shots of her in 1997.
Ahead of the ceremony today, Kensington Palace confirmed William and Kate had picked William's cousin Laura Fellowes, Kate's cousin Adam Middleton and friends Thomas van Straubenzee, Sophie Carter and James Meade as five godparents of Charlotte.
According to The Sunday Times, it is no accident that the christening is being held close to Diana's birthday. She would have been 54 last Wednesday —but her influence can also be felt in the duke and duchess of Cambridge's decision to invite well-wishers to share in the day.
The duke and duchess, Prince George and the princess will appear as a family of four in public for the first time at the baptism at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham.
By contrast, the public caught only a glimpse of the guests and godparents at the third-in-line Prince George's christening at the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace in October 2013.
Although afternoon tea will be hosted by the 89-year-old Queen, the tone is expected to be less formal, in line with William's wishes.
Charlotte, will wear the same gown worn by her brother at his christening — a reproduction of the Victorian christening robe worn by royal babies since 1841.
The original became too fragile for further use after 2004. The fourth-in-line to the throne will be baptised using an ornate royal font shaped like a lily, which has been transported especially to Sandringham from the Tower of London where it forms part of the Crown Jewels.
Following royal tradition, the water used for the christening will be holy water from the River Jordan, where it is said Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist.