The Queen will not be attending Archie Mountbatten Windsor’s christening tomorrow at Windsor Castle. We knew that weeks ago. I thought that the Queen had already set it up so that she wouldn’t be expected at every great-grandchild’s christening, especially since she skipped out of Prince Louis’s christening last year. I also figured that the Queen was probably busy or booked with other sh-t. As it turns out, she was booked. And now the Daily Mail and various “senior staff” in Buckingham Palace are sniffing at the Sussexes for the christening date they chose:
The Queen is unable to attend her new great-grandson Archie’s christening tomorrow after a major diary clash. Harry and Meghan had originally planned to hold the baptism at Windsor Castle today, it can be revealed, and made plans with their son’s new godparents and the duchess’s mother Doria – only to discover that both the Queen and Prince Charles had prior engagements. After a family conference, they agreed to move the date to tomorrow to accommodate Charles, who has been in Wales for the week to mark his 50 years as Prince of Wales.
The Queen had long planned to spend the weekend with Prince Philip at Sandringham, where she will visit the Royal Stud, and decided to bow out graciously. While the monarch has not been able to attend all of her great-grandchildren’s christenings – she missed Prince Louis’s baptism last year – it is understood that she would have liked to be present for the first big celebration for Harry’s first child. But because her diary is so busy – like any head of state it is often filled with engagements a year in advance – it was felt that it would be difficult to find another day that suited the couple and their friends. The situation has surprised some senior staff at Buckingham Palace, who feel that the duke and duchess should have planned the day better.
‘There is huge support for the couple in not wanting to conform to tradition. They are young, they are striking out on a different path from other members of the Royal Family and there is enormous goodwill for them. But they shouldn’t do that without regard for tradition,’ said one. ‘Her Majesty was already scheduled to be in Scotland for her annual Holyrood Week and had a prior engagement at the weekend. There is a feeling amongst some that they should have been more accommodating about the date.’
Holyrood Week is one of the most important days in the sovereign’s calendar, when she carries out engagements across Scotland, staying in Edinburgh’s Palace of Holyrood House, her official residence north of the border. It is one of the ‘non-negotiable’ dates in her diary and after an exhausting five days, the elderly monarch is flying straight to Norfolk rather than go back to London. It is normal for her to take in Sandringham, where she and her husband spend a private weekend together, before she returns to Buckingham Palace for her final official engagements before the summer break. Sources close to Harry and Meghan insist the Queen is ‘happy’ with the decision and was understanding of their keenness to see their son christened sooner rather than later.
‘They went to her office with the date and a collective decision was made,’ said one. ‘The Queen has had the US state visit and Holyrood Week in quick succession and has had this weekend with the Duke of Edinburgh in her diary for a long time.’ The source said this was one of the reasons that the historic photograph of the Queen with her new great-grandson was issued shortly after his birth. Their office knew then that she wouldn’t be able to attend and it was agreed that it would be a nice touch as Her Majesty wouldn’t be in the official photographs,’ they said. ‘The original date of Friday was changed to Saturday to accommodate the Prince of Wales, who is, after all, Archie’s grandfather. While this was the best weekend for friends and family coming over from the US, they did just really want to hold the christening as soon as possible, before everyone disappears for the summer. As a family they took a collective decision that this was the best option.’
So basically some unnamed senior aides felt the need to whisper to the Daily Mail that Meghan and Harry are too diva-ish to change the date of the christening to suit Her Maj’s busy schedule, even though the Sussexes literally went to the those same senior aides to work out the best date for everyone involved. The Sussexes are upholding the royal tradition by christening Archie two months after his birth, and they already changed their planned date to suit Charles. If it was important to the Queen, she would have been there. But much like Prince Louis’s christening, it seems like the Queen is less interested in rearranging her schedule for every great-grandchild.
Photos courtesy of WENN, Backgrid and Avalon Red.