Prince George christening date announced

Prince George outside the Lindo Wing in London Prince George was born in the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital, Paddington, on 22 July

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have announced details of their son's christening.

Prince George will be christened on Wednesday 23 October at the Chapel Royal at St James's Palace - just over three months after his birth.

The Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, will perform the christening.

The prince, who was born on 22 July at St Mary's Hospital in London, is third in line to the throne.

In a statement Kensington Palace said: "Their royal highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are pleased to announce the christening of Prince George will take place on Wednesday, 23rd October at the Chapel Royal, St James's Palace.

"Prince George will be christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby."

BBC royal correspondent Peter Hunt said the Chapel Royal was small and would only accommodate close family and a few others.

In 1997 the coffin of Prince William's mother Diana, Princess of Wales, lay before the chapel's altar before her funeral in Westminster Abbey.

The Chapel Royal offers Prince William a connection with his painful past and an opportunity to ensure his son's christening is an intimate affair.

It is no coincidence William and Kate have chosen a location where the coffin of Diana, Princess of Wales rested so that her family could pay their respects in the days before her funeral.

And the chapel - constructed by Henry VIII and where Mary I's heart is buried beneath the choir stalls - is small.

To the delight of the couple, it will accommodate close family and friends - and no-one else.

After the private service, photographs will be taken and one significant image will enter the history books.

It will be of the Queen, Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince George.

The last time such a gathering of a monarch and her three heirs occurred was in Victoria's time, back in 1894.

Princess Beatrice was the last royal baby to be christened in the Chapel Royal in December 1988.

Prince William was christened at Buckingham Palace in August 1982 by Dr Robert Runcie, then the Archbishop of Canterbury.

The current Archbishop later spoke of his joy at being asked to conduct the christening.

He said: 'I am delighted to be invited to conduct the baptism of His Royal Highness Prince George.

"It is a great privilege and honour and will without doubt be an occasion of immense joy and celebration.

"I am looking forward to welcoming him into the family of the church."

Prince George will be christened in a replica of the intricate lace and satin christening gown made for Queen Victoria's eldest daughter, Victoria, the Princess Royal, in 1841.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex's son Viscount Severn became the first royal baby to wear the new robe at his christening in 2008.

Earlier, Kensington Palace announced that a new coat of arms had been chosen to represent the duke and duchess as a married couple.

The conjugal coat of arms, approved by the Queen earlier this year, features separate shields to represent the royal husband and wife.

Prince William was christened at Buckingham Palace in August 1982 by Dr Robert Runcie, then the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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