Three months ago, the world celebrated the birth of Prince George. On Wednesday, baby Cambridge will make headlines again, as he marks his next milestone: his christening.
The son of Prince William and Duchess Kate, and heir to the British throne, will receive the Christian rite of baptism at the hands of Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in the historic Chapel Royal of St. James Palace.
In anticipation of the event, the Archbishop took to YouTube in a video posted on Tuesday to speak about the importance of the christening service and to share some words of wisdom with the new parents.
“We celebrate first of all the joy of the parents,” he explains in the video, posted on the Lambeth Palace YouTube page. “As a nation, we’re celebrating the birth of someone who in due course will be the head of state. That’s extraordinary…But most of all we’re celebrating baptism and baptism is, at its heart, is about the gift of God; about God’s gift of life—just ordinary physical life—but also the offer of spiritual life to all of us; of life forever.”
During the service, which Kensington Palace has said will be a “small, private, personal family affair,” Archbishop Welby will mark the forehead of Prince George with the sign of the cross. “I will splash water on the head of Prince George three times,” he says.
“It’s an extraordinary moment,” Archbishop Welby says of the service, “because that is the sign by which we understand that this person belongs to God.”
The baby is expected to be christened in a replica of the lace and satin gown worn by every royal baby between 1841 and 2004. (The queen retired the original as it became too fragile.) In another break with tradition, the baby will not be christened at Buckingham Palace as both Charles and William were.
“One of the things I’m sure about is the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince George’s parents, have had so much advice that they could probably fill a house with it,” jokes Archbishop Welby before offering guidance.
“My message to them would be: What a treat; what an amazing gift; what wonderful times that you will have. There’ll be great times and tough times—there always are with children. Through Christening, you’re bringing God into the middle of it all.”