Ok, I usually hate articles that needlessly loop in Diana, Princess of Wales, but there were a few very apparent nods to her yesterday that I didn’t mention and I think are worth calling out.
On my Instagram stories yesterday afternoon I posted a few highlights from the christenings of Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis, and it reminded me how big a part of Charlotte’s July 2015 christening she was. First things first, Diana is one of Charlotte’s middle names, which is fitting as the eldest – and so far, only – of Diana’s granddaughters. I have a feeling if Harry and Meghan ever have a girl, we’ll see the name again.
At the time, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had recently moved into their newly renovated country home, Anmer Hall, in Norfolk. Norfolk is also where the Spencer family was living when Diana was born in 1961. In fact, they were living on the Sandringham estate in Park House, which they occupied until Diana’s father inherited the earldom of Spencer.
She was then christened in St. Mary Magdalene Church on Sandringham in August 1961, and William and Kate chose it as the venue for Charlotte’s christening 54 years later. They also chose Diana’s favorite photographer, Mario Testino, do take the official photos. (They also used him for their formal engagement photos…though those are less famous than those of their engagement announcement.)
It was a lovely acknowledgement of Diana as Charlotte’s grandmother, and it’s in keeping with the delicate balance William, Kate, Harry, and now Meghan maintain when it comes to honoring the late princess’s memory. Kate’s engagement ring, Meghan wearing her jewelry on her wedding day, Kate’s choice of tiara for state dinners, etc. … all are subtle and respectful ways to keep her memory alive within the institution of the monarchy.
So, back to yesterday. The most obvious way Diana was included was a thing I did mention in yesterday’s post – the couple included Diana’s sisters, Lady Sarah and Lady Jane, in the official photos. Some have pointed out it was jarring to see them posed next to the Duchess of Cornwall (Diana’s one-time rival), but this is also just a fact of post-divorce life for a lot of families, and the royals aren’t any different. I found it kind of refreshing, and it’s nice to see adults acting like adults.
I had forgotten this, but all three of Diana’s siblings – her sisters and her brother, Earl Spencer – were included in Archie’s birth announcement in May, with the couple noting that they were among the first relatives notified. Harry also asked his Aunt Jane to give a reading at his wedding last year, so it’s clear that he maintains a somewhat close relationship to them. By all appearances, he’s closer to them than William, though it’s worth noting that one of Lady Jane’s daughters is one of Charlotte’s godmothers, so it’s possible he’s just less public about it.
The second point worth highlighting is that Harry and Meghan were sitting on the same green sofa in Windsor Castle’s green drawing room that were used in Harry’s official christening photos in 1984. Worth noting, Harry was also christened at Windsor, but in St George’s Chapel.
And finally, Kate wore Diana’s Collingwood pearl and diamond earrings, gifted to her by the jeweler for her wedding in 1981. This is particularly poignant since Diana wore them to Harry’s christening, making the nod very reminiscent of her wearing a similar red and white dress to what Diana wore to debut Harry when she left hospital with Louis last year.
I saw some on Twitter questioning why Meghan didn’t wear them, and I think it’s clear based on how many times Kate’s worn them that they belong to her. After Diana died, William and Harry divvied up some of her personal affects, including her jewelry, and based on how many pieces Kate and Meghan have worn, they appear to have been turned over to them.
Anyway, those are just a few more details I think worth covering, and frankly make for a much nicer story than the still ongoing back-and-forth over the godparents and royal register (le sigh). I don’t want to get back into that (you catch up here, though), but I do want to link to another blog that covered the issue, because I think the writer made a few good points. The furor that arose from the privacy did undermine what should have been an easy lay-up of a positive moment for the Royal Family – I agree with that, though I’m still not inclined to lay the blame at Harry’s and Meghan’s feet. As I’ve noted, they’re in a different position to William and Kate since Archie’s isn’t going to be a working royal someday, and I think the announcement of the ceremony and the release of photos was them attempting to compromise with public interest.
With that, on to the next. I think we’ll get another Wimbledon appearance from Kate this week, possibly with William, and it’s entirely possible we’ll see Meghan again, too. Fingers crossed and such.