Little Prince George got the royal treatment as he was baptized with water from the River Jordan on Wednesday.
The christening of the 3-month-old son of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge took place at the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace in London. Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby performed the religious ceremony as invited guests looked on. Among those in attendance were the baby’s great-grandparents 87-year-old Queen Elizabeth II and 92-year-old Prince Philip.
The parents named six friends and William’s cousin Zara Tindall as godparents, breaking with the tradition of choosing mostly royal dignitaries for the honor. A silver baptismal font commissioned in 1840 by Queen Victoria and Prince Albert for their first child’s birth was used in the ceremony, and Prince George wore a replica of an antique lace christening gown.
While water from the river — where it is believed that Jesus was baptized — has been used to make the sign of the Cross on many heads in Britain’s royal family, it is not commonly used for Anglican or Episcopalian christenings.
According to Neva Rae Fox, a spokeswoman for The Episcopal Church, a member of the Worldwide Anglican Communion, baptisms usually involve regular water blessed by a priest.
‘Using water from the River Jordan is not common. It must be a royal thing’
“Using water from the River Jordan is not common. It must be a royal thing,” she said.
Although water supposedly taken from the River Jordan can easily be purchased online at eBay or Amazon, Fox said she had never heard of people doing so and then asking a priest to use it in a baptism ceremony.
Recognizing the christening of Prince George as a teachable moment, the Archbishop of Canterbury posted a video about it, and about baptism in general, on his official website. More than 2000 christenings take place each week in the Church of England. Two-thirds are for babies under one, but a growing number of toddlers and older children are also baptized.
Welby emphasized that baptism is not just for royal babies.
“God’s love is offered without qualification, without price, without cost, to all people, in all circumstances, always,” he said.
The Archbishop, who has a Jewish father, visited Israel last June, just three months after being enthroned in Canterbury.