Prince Charles’ christening ‘early sign of challenges Queen would face’

The Queen and Charles: Mother and Son documentary

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On Saturday, the Queen marked her 74th wedding anniversary, her first without Prince Philip after he died seven months ago. Today also marks one month since Her Majesty was admitted to hospital for preliminary investigations, and subsequently ordered to rest by her doctors. She pulled out of last week’s Remembrance Sunday service at the Cenotaph with a sprained back. She is, however, reported to be determined to attend the joint christening of Zara and Mike Tindall’s son, Lucas, and Princess Eugenie and her husband Jack Brooksbank’s son, August, which takes place in Windsor today.

Christenings are a particularly special occasion for the Royal Family, filled with tradition dating back hundreds of years.

As the head of the Church of England, the occasion had added significance for Her Majesty, even more so after a difficult month.

Charles and other senior royals continue to take on some of the monarch’s duties, with the power behind the throne very much in the hands of the Prince of Wales.

He will be all too aware of the stresses and pressures that come with being on the throne, having witnessed his mother’s ascension just under 70 years ago.

Charles was born in November 1948, when his mother was not yet Queen. But, even still, she was often away during his infancy.

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Shortly after Charles’ birthday, she went abroad and began spending longer intervals away from him.

The first signs of the challenges the Queen would face allegedly first manifested themselves at Charles’ christening.

Charles was baptised in Buckingham Palace’s music room by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Geoffrey Fisher, when he was four weeks old.

Royal biographer Angela Levin spent a year following the Prince of Wales in 2018, and spoke to Channel 5 for the documentary ‘The Queen and Charles: Mother and Son’.

The documentary’s narrator said that, after watching back footage of Charles’ christening, she saw an “early sign of the challenges the Queen would face as a first-time royal mother”.

Ms Levin said: “You would think that it would be such an emotional moment.

“Here’s the heir to the throne, that she would absolutely want to spend some private time with him, holding him, caressing him, maybe even shed a tear.

“But, no, the Queen had to maintain her dignity.

“It’s not that she loved him less, it’s just that she most certainly would not show it in public because it wasn’t the done thing to do.”

Both the Queen and Prince Philip were away for much of Charles’ younger years.

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Philip, still working in the Royal Navy at the time, was stationed in Malta from 1949.

Outside of naval life, he would join the Queen on numerous royal tours abroad. 

Shortly after Her Majesty’s coronation, they left for a seven-month tour around the world, covering more than 40,000 miles (64,000 km) by land, sea and air.

Lady Colin Campbell told Channel 5 that the Queen missed some of the most cherished moments parents can have.

She said: “She wasn’t always there as and when she would have liked to be. 

“Charles’ first steps, Charles’ first words, Charles’ first everything took place when she was abroad doing her duty.”

Royal author Katie Nicholl echoed this, adding: “Growing up there wasn’t a particularly close relationship between Charles and his mother.

“I think, probably on more occasions than not, he probably looked at her as the Queen rather than his mother. 

“It was probably quite difficult to distinguish between the two different roles.”

Despite some indifferences Charles had with his father, his relationship with his mother was far more comfortable, although they had some disagreements of their own.

The Queen openly objected to Charles’ affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, and said she wanted “nothing to do with that wicked woman”.

She has, however, softened her stance since and “absolutely adores” her now, royal expert Howard Hodgson told Express.co.uk.

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