Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will not christen their daughter Lilibet in the UK and are likely to opt for a ceremony in California, royal sources have claimed.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their second child Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, who was born in Santa Barbara, California, on June 4 this year.
It had previously been suggested the couple, who named the four-month-old after the Queen’s childhood nickname, would return to England and christen their child at Windsor Castle in front of the monarch – who is yet to meet her great granddaughter.
However sources have now revealed that a christening in the UK was ‘highly unlikely’ and the pair will instead op to christen their daughter at the Episcopal Church of the US.
The decision will now raise questions as to when the Queen will ever get to meet the great granddaughter named after her face to face.
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (pictured with the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland during Archie’s christening) will not christen their daughter Lilibet in the UK, sources have revealed
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex welcomed their second child Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor, who was born in Santa Barbara, California, on June 4
A palace source told The Telegraph: ‘There will not be a christening in the UK. It is not happening.’
Meanwhile another insider added it was ‘highly unlikely’.
The Episcopal Church of the US, which is member church of the worldwide Anglican Communion, is run by Bishop Michael Curry who became an internet sensation after he delivered a 14-minute sermon at the couple’s wedding at St George’s Chapel, Windsor.
If Harry and Meghan decide to baptise their daughter at the California church it will mean that Lilibet would not be considered a ‘member’ of the Church of England automatically.
However the young royal could later join a Church of England congregation if she came to the UK.
Although Meghan attended a Catholic high school, she was baptised and confirmed into the Church of England in a private ceremony at the Chapel Royal conducted by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.
The intimate 45-minute service was conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the Chapel Royal in 2018 and was a closely-guarded secret with only a handful of royal aides involved.
Meghan followed partly in the footsteps of the Duchess of Cambridge, who was baptised as an infant but had a private confirmation after her engagement to Prince William.
The service observed the full ritual of the Church with holy water from the River Jordan from the private Royal Family font poured on Meghan’s head.
Lili’s brother, Archie, was also christened by the Archbishop amid unprecedented secrecy at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, in 2019.
Surces have now revealed that a christening in the UK was ‘highly unlikely’ and the pair will instead op to christen their daughter at the Episcopal Church of the US
This official christening photograph released by the Duke and Duchess of Sussex shows the Duke and Duchess with their son, Archie and (left to right) the Duchess of Cornwall, The Prince of Wales, Ms Doria Ragland, Princess Diana’s sisters Lady Jane Fellowes, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duchess of Cambridge in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle
A second shot in black-and-white shows Meghan dressed in white gazing into Harry’s eyes as she cradles baby Archie and her proud husband looks at their baby son. Windsor castle’s Rose Garden can be seen in the background
At the time of Archie’s christening the duke and duchess of Sussex said they ‘felt fortunate’ to have enjoyed their son’s christening with his godparents and shared two pictures from the big day.
A few hours after the ceremony in Windsor, Meghan and Prince Harry released an official image in which they posed alongside the Duchess of Cornwall, The Prince of Wales, Doria Ragland, Lady Jane Fellowes, Lady Sarah McCorquodale, The Duke of Cambridge and The Duchess of Cambridge in the Green Drawing Room at Windsor Castle.
Just 25 guests were present at the baptism, which saw Archie Harrison Mountbatten Windsor christened in a private chapel at Windsor Castle, but the couple only released photographs celebrating with their immediate family.
As well as including Diana’s sisters in the snap, the proud parents also paid tribute to Archie’s grandmother by sitting on the same green chair with gold detailing that Diana and the Queen sat on for Harry’s official christening photographs.
Prior to the ceremony a Buckingham Palace spokesperson said in a statement: ‘Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor will be christened in a small private ceremony by the Archbishop of Canterbury in the Private Chapel at Windsor Castle on Saturday July 6. The godparents, in keeping with their wishes, will remain private.’
Although details of royal babies’ godparents have always been made public in the past, Harry and Meghan refused to confirm any names for Archie.
Godparents of royal babies are traditionally announced beforehand – often on the morning of the christening – and conventionally elderly or foreign relatives were selected.
The couple went on to face significant backlash over their insistence that the 25-person ceremony would remain private and the identities of Archie’s godparents would not be revealed at the time.
The Dean of Chelmsford, Nicholas Henshall, told the BBC: ‘Baptism should never be private. It’s a public demonstration of God’s love.’
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge allowed the media to cover each of their children’s christenings, as well as releasing family photographs afterwards.
At the time of Archie’s christening the duke and duchess of Sussex said they ‘felt fortunate’ to have enjoyed their son’s christening
In August, royal commentator Richard Fitzwilliam told the Express the couple will ‘do things their own way’ with Lilibet.
He said: ‘It seems certain that her christening will be in Meghan’s home state and with the secrecy but without the controversy that surrounded Archie’s christening.’
The couple have never released an image of their daughter to the public, with royal commentator Richard saying the decision shows the Duke and Duchess are acting on their own terms.
This week it was revealed that Prince Harry was not expected to return to Britain next week to join his brother Prince William at a party to honour their mother.
The party had originally been planned for July 1, when the brothers unveiled a statue of Diana, Princess of Wales, on what would have been her 60th birthday.
Harry flew back for the unveiling without wife Meghan, who had given birth to the couple’s second child, Lilibet.
Due to coronavirus restrictions, the plans were scaled back, with just the Princes, their uncle Earl Spencer and aunts Lady Sarah McCorquodale and Lady Jane Fellowes present.
Harry was due to attend the rescheduled party for 100 guests, believed to include Sir Elton John, on October 19, although it is unclear if Meghan would have accompanied him.
Since attending the statue’s unveiling, Harry has announced he is writing his memoirs. They are due for release next year, when the Queen will celebrate her Platinum Jubilee to mark 70 years on the throne.