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Harry and Meghan using royal loophole to keep Archie's godparents names a secret


Prince Harry is behind the secrecy around baby Archie’s godparents because he wants his son to be a ‘private citizen’, it has been claimed.

The youngster will be christened today at Windsor Castle and it is believed some of Meghan’s friends will take the roles. 

And the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are using a royal loophole to ensure baby Archie’s godparents remain a secret. 

Under Church of England rules, the details of all baptisms, including the baby’s godparents, are a matter of public record and can be obtained easily for a small fee. 

But details of Archie’s baptism are being kept in a separate ‘register held privately by the royal household on behalf of the Crown’, which is not accessible to the public.

It comes as the Queen’s former spokesperson Dickie Arbiter told MailOnline that details about godparents are ‘private’ but previous royal parents including the Cambridges have chosen to share the information.

Mr Arbiter also explained how although Archie’s godparents’ identities might not be officially released on Saturday, they will be put in the royal records which is held at Windsor Castle and will be available to historians in the future. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (pictured with baby Archie at two days old) are using a royal loophole to ensure baby Archie's godparents remain a secret after his christening tomorrow

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex (pictured with baby Archie at two days old) are using a royal loophole to ensure baby Archie’s godparents remain a secret after his christening tomorrow 

Meghan’s friends Genevieve Hillis and Lindsay Roth, who met her at Northwestern University in Illinois, are currently among the favourites with bookies putting them at 6/4 to be named guardians.

A source close to the couple told The Sun Archie’s father was behind the secrecy campaign rather than his mother.

The source said: ‘People might think Meghan responsible for this whole privacy thing but it is Harry leading the charge. He wants Archie to be a private citizen in every way possible.’

Harry and Meghan’s decision to keep the names of their son’s godparents hidden has sparked major outrage among royalists and commentators after it emerged the taxpayer forked out £2.4million for renovations to their new Windsor home. 

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have said only that they have picked ‘close and old friends’ for the roles, but are refusing to identify them because they are ‘private citizens’, triggering major speculation over who it could be. 

Meghan's friends Genevieve Hillis, left, and Lindsay Roth, right, pictured with her at Wimbledon on Thursday, are currently 6/4 at the bookies to be named guardians

Meghan’s friends Genevieve Hillis, left, and Lindsay Roth, right, pictured with her at Wimbledon on Thursday, are currently 6/4 at the bookies to be named guardians

Commenting on the loophole, a Church of England spokesman told MailOnline:  ‘Under the Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978 all baptisms must be registered and the record made is normally publicly available for searches and for the making of certified copies of entries.

‘However the register to be used in this case is held privately by the royal household on behalf of the Crown and we understand that it has never complied with the usual requirement.’

In ordinary circumstances, anyone who pays the required fee – set at £30 for 2019, can have access to the details of any christening by an Anglican vicar, which would ruin Harry and Meghan’s chances of keeping their secret. 

But their royal status means they can bend the rules and keep the godparents anonymous.

Royal commentator Dickie Arbiter told MailOnline that christenings, royal or not, are private affairs and it is the parents decision if the godparents information is shared. 

Archie's christening will take place in a private ceremony at Windsor Castle tomorrow

Archie’s christening will take place in a private ceremony at Windsor Castle tomorrow 

Mr Arbiter said: ‘A Christening is a private family affair and it doesn’t matter if you’re a prince or not, the information doesn’t have to be shared.

‘You also have to ask if the godparents want to be named. They may wish to remain anonymous and might not be happy with their names being announced publicly. 

‘The Cambridges decided to share the details of their three children’s godparents with the public but George is third in line to the throne.

‘Harry is sixth and not under the same pressure to share his son’s details. It’s up to the parents to decide what information they give out.’

However Mr Arbiter explained how the official details of Archie’s christening will someday be available to historians in the archives of Windsor Castle.

He said: ‘Royal christening records are kept at Windsor Castle and one day we will find out whose Archie’s godparents but for now it will all be under wraps. I wouldn’t expect to get them for a number of years.

‘It doesn’t matter the location of the event, the royal’s christening information will be put in the same book.

‘Everything from who attended, who officiated the service and who the godparents are will be recorded.

‘Of course, we might also find out who Archie’s are if the people themselves let it slip or the information somehow leaks. 

‘I can’t recollect a royal christening where the godparents’ information hasn’t been shared but its individual preference and people forget who they are in a day.’

Meghan's Canadian friend Jessica Mulroney is bookies' favourite to be made godmother - but some sources have claimed she will miss out

Meghan’s Canadian friend Jessica Mulroney is bookies’ favourite to be made godmother – but some sources have claimed she will miss out

Meghan made a surprise visit to Wimbledon to watch Serena Williams yesterday, fuelling rumours the women’s tennis legend could be set to be godmother. 

But when asked about the issue, Serena said: ‘No, I’m working on Saturday. But, yeah, so she [Meghan] understands work’.   

Amid perplexity over the decision to keep the names secret, Meghan’s friend Jessica Mulroney then posted on Instagram: ‘Don’t take criticism from anyone you wouldn’t go to for advice’.

She then deleted it around 35 minutes later without making it clear what she was referring to – but some on social media were quick to link the ‘tip’ to the royal row.

The Canadian stylist, who is Meghan’s best friend, is expected to play an important part in Archie’s life – but despite being 1/7 favourite to be a godmother some royal sources have claimed she will be overlooked.

She supported Meghan in the difficult days leading up to the wedding amid the turmoil caused by the absence of her father, Thomas Markle. 

Mrs Mulroney posted this advice about ignoring criticism on Instagram - but it was deleted minutes layter

Mrs Mulroney posted this advice about ignoring criticism on Instagram – but it was deleted minutes layter

Meghan Markle, 37, made a surprise appearance at Wimbledon yesterday to cheer on her friend of ten years, Serena Williams, with her friends Lindsay Roth and Genevieve Hillis who are candidates to be godmother

Meghan Markle, 37, made a surprise appearance at Wimbledon yesterday to cheer on her friend of ten years, Serena Williams, with her friends Lindsay Roth and Genevieve Hillis who are candidates to be godmother

Serena Williams grinned when she was asked if she will be godmother to Archie but said: 'No, I'm working on Saturday'

Serena Williams grinned when she was asked if she will be godmother to Archie but said: ‘No, I’m working on Saturday’

Did Meghan’s Wimbledon visit drop godparent hint? 

She has controversially vowed to keep the identity of her son Archie’s godparents secret. But yesterday Meghan gave a teasing clue as to the identity of at least two as she enjoyed an afternoon watching her close friend Serena Williams play at Wimbledon.

The Duchess of Sussex was accompanied by two of her oldest friends, Lindsay Roth and Genevieve Hillis.

Sitting in an area for the special guests of players, accompanied by two bodyguards and a personal assistant, Meghan wore a striped blazer, jeans, a Panama hat and a sweet gold necklace with the initial A on it. She could be seen cheering and clapping whenever Miss Williams won a point.

Miss Roth and Miss Hillis met Meghan when they studied together at Northwestern University in Illinois.

TV producer and writer Miss Roth later wrote a book, What Pretty Girls Are Made Of, about an aspiring actress – a character many believe was based on Meghan.

The pair remain close. Miss Roth is married to an Englishman – Meghan was one of her bridesmaids – and lives in London. Miss Hillis, who appears to have flown in specially from the US, was in the same sorority – female society – as Meghan at university.

She could be seen sitting behind the duchess’s mother Doria at last year’s royal wedding and Meghan holidayed with her privately in New York before her baby shower in February. 

Ms Mulroney’s twin boys Brian and John and daughter Ivy were pageboys and bridesmaid. She is married to Ben Mulroney, son of former Canadian prime minister Brian Mulroney. 

There is an ongoing row over the Sussexes’ decision not to name their chosen godparents and today it emerged that 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. 

Moving it to Saturday also demolished Serena’s chances of attending – because she will be playing in Wimbledon’s third round.

Meghan and Harry have picked ‘close and old friends’ for the roles amid a backlash over the royal couple’s refusal to identify them because they are ‘private citizens’.

And the royal couple, who are denying any public access to his christening at Windsor Castle on Saturday, have also decided not to allow TV cameras in to record the royal family arriving.

Phil Dampier, author of Royally Suited – a book on Harry and Meghan’s romance, who has written about the royals for three decades, called the decision ‘childish and naive’.

He told MailOnline: ‘I wouldn’t be surprised if at some point the Queen or Prince Charles has a chat with them about it over cup of tea. What makes them so different from every other royal who is happy to let these details be known?’ 

He added:  ‘They tried to keep the location of Archie’s birth secret but then everybody found out the hospital, so what is the point?’ 

Harry and Meghan’s decision comes days after the couple were criticised for using £2.4million of public money to refurbish Frogmore Cottage, their new official residence on the Queen’s Berkshire estate.    

Mr Dampier said: ‘Coming so soon after the controversy over the cost of renovating Frogmore Cottage this looks like they want to have their cake and eat it’.

The Sussexes godparents are likely to include Meghan’s friend Benita Litt and Harry’s childhood mentor Mark Dyer, while more-notable names including Jessica Mulroney and Serena Williams are out.

Ms Litt is an old friend from Los Angeles whose daughters Remi and Rylan – both Meghan’s goddaughters – were bridesmaids at the couple’s wedding.

Another possible godmother is Lindsay Roth, who met Meghan at Northwestern University in the US and is one of her oldest friends. Meghan was her bridesmaid and the two spend a lot of time together as she lives in London.

Benita Litt

Lindsay Roth

In the frame to me godmothers: Meghan’s friends Benita Litt (left) and Lindsay Roth (pictured with Megan on the right)

Jake Warren, son of the Queen¿s bloodstock manager

Mark Dyer, Harry¿s childhood mentor and confidante

In the frame as godfathers: Jake Warren, son of the Queen’s bloodstock manager, (left, wearing a top hat and yellow waistcoat) and Mark Dyer, Harry’s childhood mentor and confidante (seen with Meghan on the right)

The favourites to be Archie’s godparents

Jessica Mulroney – 1/7

Charlie Van Straubenzee – 1/5

Lindsay Roth – 6/4

Genevieve Hillis – 6/4

Misha Nonoo – 2/1

Mark Dyer – 3/1

Prince William and Kate Middleton – 3/1

Serena Williams – 4/1

Tiggy Pettifer – 4/1

George and Amal Clooney – 5/1

Nicholas Van Cutsem – 5/1

Benita Litt – 11/2

Tom Inskip – 6/1

Violet von Westenholz – 13/2

Heather Dorak – 8/1

Jake and Zoe Warren – 10/1

Mark and Zara Tindall – 10/1

Source: Ladbrokes 

They will release a small number of images taken by their own photographer later in the day.  

Among those Harry is likely to choose are his childhood friend Jake Warren, son of the Queen’s bloodstock manager, whose daughter, Zalie, two, was also a bridesmaid last year.

Also in the frame is Mark Dyer, Harry’s childhood mentor and confidante, whose son Jasper is the prince’s godson and was a pageboy at the wedding, as well his former nanny Tiggy Pettifer.

The fact that many of them were involved publicly in the Sussexes’ wedding may lead to further criticism of the decision not to reveal the godparents’ identities. 

Earlier this year they refused to announce where the duchess had given birth to their son, which the Mail revealed to be the Portland Hospital in London.

However, it was confirmed yesterday that Archie will be baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Revd Justin Welby.

The fact that the Queen’s great-grandson and seventh in line to the throne is being welcomed into the Church of England by its second most senior figure, after the Queen, may raise questions over Harry and Meghan’s demands for privacy.

Buckingham Palace 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.’

From left to right: Princess Charlotte, the Duchess of Cambridge, Jessica Mulroney, Ivy Mulroney, Florence van Cutsem, Zoe Warren, Zalie Warren, Benita Litt, Remy Litt and Rylan Litt arrive at St George's Chapel for Meghan's wedding

From left to right: Princess Charlotte, the Duchess of Cambridge, Jessica Mulroney, Ivy Mulroney, Florence van Cutsem, Zoe Warren, Zalie Warren, Benita Litt, Remy Litt and Rylan Litt arrive at St George’s Chapel for Meghan’s wedding 

St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle, where Archie's christening ceremony will be held  this weekend

St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, where Archie’s christening ceremony will be held  this weekend

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have said they will not be revealing the godparents of baby Archie after his private christening this weekend

The Duke and Duchess of Sussex have said they will not be revealing the godparents of baby Archie after his private christening this weekend 

Who are in line to be Archie’s royal godparents? 

ON MEGHAN’S SIDE

THE MOTHER OF MEGHAN’S GODCHILDREN: Benita Litt

If Meghan decides a reciprocal godparenting arrangement might be best, then she may well look to the mother of her own godchildren.

Benita Litt, mother to Remi and Rylan Litt, was spotted close to Meghan’s mother Doria at the royal wedding with the pair clearly delighted to be representing the Duchess’s side of the family.

A former entertainment lawyer, high-flying Benita has previously been on holiday with the royal – and if you needed any further proof of their solid friendship, the pair also spent Christmas 2016 together.

Benita Litt (pictured left at the Royal wedding with Meghan's mother Doria) is the mother of Meghan's godchildren Remi and Rylan Litt

Benita Litt (pictured left at the Royal wedding with Meghan’s mother Doria) is the mother of Meghan’s godchildren Remi and Rylan Litt

THE UNIVERSITY PAL: Lindsay Roth

Keeper of some of the Duchess’ oldest secrets, Lindsay Roth is a fellow alumni from Northwestern University in Illinois, where the pair bonded in an English literature class studying Toni Morrison’s works.

Now a successful TV producer and author, Lindsay has already bestowed a role on Meghan, choosing her to serve as her maid of honour at her wedding in 2016.

Lindsay Roth (pictured with Meghan) is one of her oldest friends and a fellow alumni from Meghan's time spent studying literature at Northwestern

Lindsay Roth (pictured with Meghan) is one of her oldest friends and a fellow alumni from Meghan’s time spent studying literature at Northwestern

On Harry’s side

THE SECOND FATHER: Mark Dyer

Mark Dyer has been noted as a ‘second father’ to Prince Harry throughout his upbringing and a mentor alongside the royal’s former nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke.

Cheltenham ­College educated Dyer, known as Marko to friends, became a steadying big brother figure to the princes in the mid-Nineties when he worked as an equerry to the Prince of Wales for 18 months.

Prince Charles appointed Dyer to keep an eye on his sons, and he was brought in as a male counterpart to former royal nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke.

During the first half term after Diana’s death, when the boys would have been with their mother, Prince Charles was committed to a five day visit to Africa.

He took Harry along and while the Prince carried out engagements, Harry went off on safari in Botswana, organised by Mark.

From then on he was a key guiding figure as Harry and William tried to come to terms with the loss of their mother.

After his spell as an employee to the Prince ended he remained a mentor to Harry.

In 2009 Mark founded the management company MDM Bars and Pubs and runs two pubs The Sand’s End and The Brown Cow, in south-west London which both became haunts of Prince Harry.

Mark’s six-year-old son Jasper, who is Prince Harry’s godson, was chosen as a page boy for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s wedding.

Mark Dyer (pictured with Harry) has been described as a 'second father' to Prince Harry following his mother Princess Diana's death

Mark Dyer (pictured with Harry) has been described as a ‘second father’ to Prince Harry following his mother Princess Diana’s death

THE FATHER OF HARRY’S GODCHILD: Jake Warren

Jake Warren and his wife Zoe attended the couple’s wedding, and their daughter Zalie – who is one of Prince Harry’s godchildren – was chosen to be a flower girl.

The godson of Princess Diana, Jake grew up alongside Prince Harry and has often been spotted with him at events including Ascot.

The Warren family are closely connected to the royals through horse-racing. Jake’s father John Warren is the Queen’s racing manager.

The father-and-son team run Highclere Stud in Newbury together.

Jake Warren and his wife Zoe had their daughter Zali, who is one of Prince Harry's godchildren, attended their wedding (Harry and Jake pictured together at Royal Ascot in 2014)

Jake Warren and his wife Zoe had their daughter Zali, who is one of Prince Harry’s godchildren, attended their wedding (Harry and Jake pictured together at Royal Ascot in 2014)

The couple’s photographer on the day will be Chris Allerton, who took their wedding photos. 

Can details of baptisms and christenings be kept private? 

Under the Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978, all Church of England baptisms are a matter of public record. 

Details of both public and private baptisms are kept in a large register for each Anglican parish.

Anyone willing to pay the required fee can look up the details of any baptism in any given Church of England parish.

For 2019 the set fee is £30.  

The details record for each baptism are as follows:

Date of birth

Date of baptism 

Christian name and surname

Mother and father’s christian name and surname

Address

Mother and father’s occupations

Godparents

Officiating minister 

Source: Legislation.gov.uk  

Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, who has written about royal children for several decades, said she could not remember details of a senior royal’s godparents ever being withheld.

‘The trouble is that they [Harry and Meghan] want it every which way they can,’ she added.

Harry’s biographer Penny Junor said: ‘Not allowing any media access is denying a lot of people a very innocent pleasure.’

Under the Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978, all Church of England baptisms are a matter of public record, including the godparents and officiating minister. Anyone willing to pay the required fee can look up the details.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge allowed the media to cover each of their children’s christenings.  

Royal critics slammed the decision to keep the christening private, particularly in light of the row over the refurbishments at Frogmore.

The Dean of Chelmsford Nicholas Henshall told the BBC: ‘Baptism should never be private – it’s a public demonstration of God’s love.’  

Piers Morgan, who has been a long-standing critic of Meghan, expressed his outrage, saying: ‘The godparents will not be announced’. 

‘Why not? Harry & Meghan need to stop playing these dumb cake-and-eat-it games with the media/public. 

‘If you want your home costs paid by the taxpayer, you reveal this kind of info. That’s the deal.’ 

While Professor Adrian Hilton, political philosophy lecturer at the University of Surrey, commented: ‘Details of the godparents will be kept private.’ 

‘This is inappropriate. The Duke and Duchess of Sussex are in receipt of the ‘Sovereign Grant’: their son isn’t a ‘private citizen’; his godparents are a matter of public interest, having responsibility for his spiritual wellbeing.’

The decision has sparked outrage on social media, with one person tweeting: ‘Shame, shame. Why be so hidden when one has a public position. I’m disappointed in Harry. 

Harry and Meghan are pictured with Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor at two days old inside Windsor Castle

Harry and Meghan are pictured with Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor at two days old inside Windsor Castle 

The royal announcement revealing the godparents will remain anonymous was released today

The royal announcement revealing the godparents will remain anonymous was released today 

Another wrote: ‘They are ridiculous. Their choices are so petty and disrespectful to British tax payers. 

Who is Harry and Meghan’s favourite photographer Chris Allerton?  

Harry and Meghan chose private photographer Chris Allerton to capture their wedding day in Windsor back in May 2018. 

Previously unseen, black and white images he took of the day were released this May to celebrate the couple’s one-year anniversary. 

So impressed by his work, they also chose him to take the first public pictures of baby Archie.

Chris Allerton took this shot of Harry and Meghan on their wedding day

Chris Allerton took this shot of Harry and Meghan on their wedding day 

Usually royal births are swarmed with photographers, as was the case when they camped outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in London after the births of Prince George, Louis and Princess Charlotte. 

But only Mr Allerton was allowed inside Winsdor Castle for the moment Harry, Meghan and Archie were first seen in public as a family. 

Previously a soldier in the British Army he left in 2001 to become a photographer. 

‘Catherine And William are doing wonderful but why should Brits want to pay for a couple that has no regard for the people?’

Although the royal christenings are usually private and not broadcast like weddings or coronations, guests are often photographed arriving at the ceremony. 

Baby Archie’s arrival has struck a sharp contrast to that of his cousins’ Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis. 

Kate and William posed for photographs with each of their newborns outside the famous Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital.

Their choice of godparents and christening guests were also public knowledge, with wellwishers pictured by the press on their way to the services.

But details of Meghan’s birthing plan, when she went into labour and the location of the birth were kept a secret with the royal couple insisting they wanted to maintain a high level of privacy. 

Archie was also born without a royal title, reflecting his parents wish to raise him out of the media spotlight.  

Sources have said Saturday’s service will be a ‘very small gathering’ of about 25 people. 

It will be attended by Archie’s grandfather Prince Charles, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The Queen will miss her great-grandson’s baptism due to other commitments. 

Harry and Meghan’s decision to exclude the press on the day could mean the non-royal guests remain a secret.  

The statement issued by Buckingham Palace reads: ‘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 6th July.

‘The Duke and Duchess of Sussex look forward to sharing some images taken on the day by photographer Chris Allerton.

‘The godparents, in keeping with their wishes, will remain private.’ 

Royal biographer Penny Junor previously said members of the public would have wanted to share Harry and Meghan’s joy of baptizing their first child, branding the move a ‘terrible mistake’. 

She said: ‘We’re not asking for Archie to become public property but to be able to share in the pleasure of his christening, I think it is only fair to give the public that pleasure.

‘Because although Archie himself is not going to be a working member of the royal family, so far as we can tell he’s going to be brought up as a normal child, that’s fine but Harry is very much a part of the royal family as we’ve known it over the years.

‘People love him and they’re really happy for him – he’s married Meghan and they’ve had the baby – and they want to share in the joy of that and I think this is a terrible shame and I think it’s a mistake.’

Royal expert, Ingrid Seward, editor-in-chief of Majesty Magazine, said she felt that people were becoming a ‘bit jaded’ by ‘stylised’ pictures of the newest royal. 

She said of the couple’s decision to keep the public out of Archie’s life: ‘I think this is quite Harry-led and it is putting Meghan in a very difficult position. 

‘She’s the one getting all the flak as a newcomer to the Royal Family. I assume Harry and Meghan don’t know where they are going wrong and think the criticism is all so very unfair. 

‘But why wouldn’t they want the world to see their baby? I don’t think it is any skin off their nose.’

Revealed: The Queen won’t be at Archie’s christening because Meghan, Harry and the mystery godparents planned to baptize him TODAY but had to rearrange when they realised Her Majesty and Prince Charles were already busy

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.

The Queen, pictured today on a visit to Gorgie City Farm in Edinburgh, will not attend Archie's christening on Saturday

The Queen, pictured today on a visit to Gorgie City Farm in Edinburgh, will not attend Archie’s christening on Saturday

Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was meant to be christened on Friday, but the date was moved to accommodate Prince Charles

Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor was meant to be christened on Friday, but the date was moved to accommodate Prince Charles

Meghan Markle, 37, made a surprise appearance at Wimbledon yesterday to cheer on her friend of ten years, Serena Williams

Meghan Markle, 37, made a surprise appearance at Wimbledon yesterday to cheer on her friend of ten years, Serena Williams

The Queen has attended two out of three baptisms organised by Kate and William, pictured at Princess Charlotte's christening in Sandringham in 2015

The Queen has attended two out of three baptisms organised by Kate and William, pictured at Princess Charlotte’s christening in Sandringham in 2015

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.’ 

This week it emerged that Harry and Meghan are refusing to reveal their choices as Archie’s godparents, saying they want the identities to remain private.

Her Majesty (pictured in Edinburgh yesterday) 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

Her Majesty (pictured in Edinburgh yesterday) 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 

The situation has surprised some senior staff at Buckingham Palace, who feel that the duke and duchess should have planned the day better

The situation has surprised some senior staff at Buckingham Palace, who feel that the duke and duchess should have planned the day better

The couple, who have already denied any public access to the proceedings at Windsor Castle, have decided not to allow TV cameras in to record the Royal Family arriving. They will instead release a small number of images taken by their own photographer.

When Archie was born in May they refused even to announce where the duchess had given birth – the Daily Mail later revealed it had been at the Portland Hospital in London. However it has been confirmed that Archie will be baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev Justin Welby.

The fact that the seventh in line to the throne is being welcomed into the Church of England by its most senior figure after the Queen has raised questions over Harry and Meghan’s demands for privacy. 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. 

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