1. Boy George
The little fellow hasn't been seen in public since his first appearance outside the hospital in July, although an official photo was released when he was 4 weeks old, sleeping in Kate's arms. We know from his dad that he's got "a good pair of lungs on him," is "a little bit of a rascal" and is a "fighter." So perhaps the Archbishop of Canterbury, who is performing the christening, should be nervous. Today's baptism should go more smoothly than Queen Victoria's in 1819, when her parents argued during the ceremony over what her name should be. It's already official: He will be christened George Alexander Louis.
Prince William and Kate Middleton Veer From Tradition With Prince George's Godparents
2. It's a Small Family Gathering
Unlike his departure from St. Mary's hospital in front of the world's media, Prince George's christening will be a private affair, with only 22 guests. William and Kate have chosen to hold the service in the Chapel Royal, a relatively small, intimate church. It has special significance for William, because it's where Diana's coffin lay before her funeral. Only immediate family, godparents and their spouses have been invited. The queen, Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Camilla and Prince Harry will be joined by Kate's siblings, Pippa and James, and her parents, Carole and Michael. The Middleton grandparents continue to play an important part in George's life. They were the first to visit after he was born. Baby George spent the first weeks of his life in their home. Michael even took the first official photo of George.
3. But It's Not Exactly a Normal Christening
Prince George is a future king, third in line to the throne, and will one day be the 43rd monarch since William the Conqueror. He will also be the head of the Church of England, so its spiritual leader, the Archbishop of Canterbury, will carry out today's ceremony. As the bishop has said in a YouTube video message, "As a nation we're celebrating the birth of someone who in due course will be the head of state. That's extraordinary. It gives you this sense of forward looking, of the forwardness of history as well as the backwardness of history." Prince George will wear a replica of the christening robe made for Queen Victoria's oldest daughter in 1841. It's a satin and lace number.
4. Although There Will Be Some Breaks With Tradition
Kate and Will are still doing some things their own way. Prince George is the first future monarch in modern times not to be baptised at Buckingham Palace. The royal couple have waited for longer than usual to christen their baby. William, Charles and the queen were all baptised at 4 to 6 weeks old. Charles was 4 weeks old, and the queen was five weeks old. And then there are the godparents, seven in all, a mix of old friends from school and university, a close aide, only one royal and a friend of Diana's. It's a far cry from the usual choice of senior royals and aristocrats. William and Charles' godparents include King Constantine II, Princess Alexandra, King George VI, Queen Mary, Princess Margaret, King Haakon of Norway and Prince George of Greece.
5. Four Generations of Monarchs
The world will have to wait until Thursday to see the official photos from the ceremony. One of the pictures is expected to show the queen and three future monarchs: Charles, William and George. This hasn't happened since 1894, at the christening of the baby who would become Edward VIII, who was pictured with his father, George V, grandfather Edward VII and great grandmother, Queen Victoria. Will and Kate have chosen celebrity portrait photographer Jason Bell to take today's official pictures. The young Brit is known for his images of Paul McCartney, Scarlett Johansson, David Beckham and Tom Ford.
6. The Location OK, so it's not Buckingham Palace, but the Chapel Royal in St. James' Palace is steeped in royal history. Here's a glance at some of the historical events that have taken place there:
Diana's coffin lay before her funeral so that her family could pay their last respects (1997). Kate was confirmed into the Church ahead of her marriage (2011). Queen Victoria and Prince Albert were married (1840). King George V and Queen Mary were married (1893). Elizabeth I prayed as the Spanish Armada threatened. Charles I received communion before his execution (1649) Mary I's heart is buried under the floor.