PRINCESS ANNE decided not to attend Prince Harry’s christening after a fallout over godparents, according to unearthed accounts, a drama which played out long before Harry and his wife Meghan Markle faced their own dilemma about where Lilibet will be baptised.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their daughter Lilibet to the world in June. Speculation has surrounded her christening ever since, as the religious ceremony is an entrenched tradition for those born into the Royal Family.
However, as the Sussex family now live in the US, it remains unclear, at the moment, where young Lili will be christened.
Lili’s older brother Archie was christened wearing the royal christening gown by the Archbishop of Canterbury in July 2019 in Windsor Castle’s private chapel.
Harry was also christened at Windsor Castle as a baby, in the St George’s Chapel.Harry’s big day, however, caused some major rows within the Royal Family.
Things escalated so badly that Princess Anne did not attend, the Daily Express’ royal correspondent Ashley Walton reported at the time.
Harry had six godparents, like his older brother Prince William. Angela Levin wrote in her book ‘Harry: Conversations with the Prince’ that Princess Diana had been annoyed that she could not choose William’s godparents.
Prince Charles and the Queen had insisted William’s godparents, with one exception, were “part of the royal establishments, relatives of the Royal Family or aristocrats”.
Ms Levin wrote Diana had more leeway with Harry’s godparents, but still had to seek the Queen’s approval. Two of her initial suggestions were rejected, but their replacements were approved.
The final list was: Lady Sarah Armstrong-Jones (later Chatto); Prince Andrew; Diana’s former flatmate Carolyn Bartholomew; the Queen’s friend Lady Celia Vestey; Bryan Organ and Gerald Ward — both friends of Prince Charles.
A Buckingham Palace statement at the time said: “Unfortunately neither of them could make it. They will be arriving in Windsor later in the day.”
The official line was that Anne and Mark had a prior engagement that had been in place long before the christening date and that they could not miss it.Mr Walton, however, claimed Anne refused to attend, and went shooting instead.
He said: “Her displeasure grew into a full-scale family row when she learned that her younger brother Andrew was to be godfather to three-month old Prince Harry, while she was again omitted.