Why Lady Louise Windsor was last to experience key royal tradition

Lady Louise Windsor discusses doing her D of E award

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Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex’s only daughter, Lady Louise Windsor, was born on November 8, 2003. Louise’s christening took place the following April, and like all royal christenings, there were many traditional aspects of the ceremony. But one key tradition stemming from the reign of Queen Victoria actually ended with Lady Louise’s 2004 christening.

How did Lady Louise’s christening mark the end of a royal tradition?

Queen Victoria welcomed Princess Victoria, the first of her nine children, in 1840.

Princess Victoria was baptised in the Throne Room of Buckingham Palace on February 10, 1841, which also happened to be Queen Victoria and Prince Albert’s first wedding anniversary.

In tribute to this, Queen Victoria commissioned a christening gown for her daughter made out of the same Honiton lace as her wedding dress.

The choice of Honiton lace for both Queen Victoria’s wedding dress and her daughter’s christening gown was received well by the public, as Queen Victoria was seen to be supporting local industries in Devon.

From this point on, the Honiton christening gown was worn by all royal babies up to 2004, including Queen Elizabeth II.

But Lady Louise Windsor would be the last royal baby to wear the gown, as the Queen subsequently had it replaced with a replica outfit.

Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge’s three children, Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis, have since worn the replica christening gown.

The replica gown was also thought to be worn by Archie Harrison for his christening in 2019.

What other royal christening traditions are there?

Like with royal weddings and funerals, royal christenings are steeped in centuries-old traditions.

One such tradition is the use of the Lily Font, which has been used for every royal christening since 1841.

In addition to commissioning the Honiton christening gown, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert ordered a new baptismal font for their firstborn.

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The Lily Font is distinctly shaped like an expanded flower and features borders of leaves and water lilies.

Royal christenings are also usually accompanied by an announcement from the Palace about who the royal baby’s godparents will be.

In the case of Lady Louise Windsor, her godparents were announced as the Queen’s niece, Lady Sarah Chatto, Lord Ivar Mountbatten, Lady Alexandra Etherington, Mrs Francesca Schwarzenbach and Mr Rupert Elliott.

But not all royals have revealed who their baby’s godparents are to the public, as was the case when Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s son was christened.

Like most royal events, a royal christening is often celebrated with a special cake.

It is thought that over the years, royals have often used the top tier of their wedding cake for the christening of their first child.

Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Prince William are thought to have preserved some of the fruit cake served at their 2011 wedding for the christenings of all three of their children.

A statement released by the Palace for Prince Louis’ 2018 christening read: “Guests will be served slices of christening cake, which is a tier taken from The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s wedding cake.”

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