09 July 2019, The Tablet

Debate over decision to conceal names of Archie's Godparents


Royal biographer, Robert Lacey, said it was an “absolute scandal” to conceal the Godparents’ identities


Debate over decision to conceal names of Archie's Godparents

File photo dated 08/05/19 of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex with their baby son Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor
Photo: Dominic Lipinski/PA Wire/PA Images

A debate over the private christening of the son of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex has continued after the couple decided to conceal the names of the Godparents.

In the Church of England, baptism, or christening, is a legal event and therefore publicly recorded. As Godparents are a necessary requirement of baptism, normally their names are included on parish registers when baptisms are recorded.

A spokesperson for the Church of England said: “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.”

Royal biographer, Robert Lacey, said it was an “absolute scandal” to conceal the Godparents’ identities.

“This is someone who is seventh in line to the throne, and we don’t know who has a moral influence on them. It verges on the unconstitutional,” he told the Times. 

Archie Mountbatten-Windsor was christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby in the private chapel at Windsor Castle in front of close family and friends on 6 July.   

In a move that has proved controversial, the couple opted to exclude press and public from the christening. Photographer Chris Allerton took photographs of the event, two of which were posted to the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s Instagram account following the ceremony.  

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall and Meghan's mother, Doria Ragland, attended the ceremony. The Queen did not attend due to a prior engagement.

 


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