AN UNUSUAL ENGLISH WOOLWORK PICTURE TITLED: E ; ;R CHRISENING OF THE PRINCE OF WALES JAN 25th 1842 A woolwork picture in bands of white, pink, red and green centered with a black and white picture framed in red wool of the christening of the Price of Wales on January 25th 1842 at St George''s Chapel, Windsor. Above a a pair of crossed swords and the above mentioned text on bands of different coloured wool. ;On either side are three stemed leaves. ;All within a black brown frame with a bamboo moulding and a beaded gilt slip. Dimensions: 19 1/2 inches x 16 inches (49.5cm x 40.6cm) Reference: Christening Information for the British Royal Family from King George I to Queen Elizabeth II Copyright © 2001 Yvonne Demoskoff King Edward VII - son of Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha and Queen Victoria - born on 9 November 1841 at Buckingham Palace; died on 6 May 1910 at Buckingham Palace - christened at St George''s Chapel, Windsor on 25 January 1842 by William Howley, Archbishop of Canterbury, assisted by the Archbishop of York, the Bishop of London, the Bishop of Norwich, the Bishop of Winchester, the Bishop of Oxford, and the Deans and Canons of Windsor - received the names Albert Edward - had six godparents: Friedrich Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia, Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge (his great-uncle), Prince Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (his great-uncle), the Duchess of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (née Duchess Marie of Württemberg, his step-grandmother, for whom his grandmother the Duchess of Kent was proxy), the Dowager Duchess of Saxe-Gotha (née Landgravine Caroline of Hesse-Cassel, his step-great-grandmother, for whom his great-aunt the Duchess of Cambridge was proxy), and Princess Sophia (his great-aunt, sister of the Duke of Cambridge, for whom his mother''s cousin Princess Augusta of Cambridge was proxy) ; Brief History of Royal Christenings A christening is a religious occasion which marks a child''s entry into his or her Church. It is so with the Royal Family. As in most families, a royal christening is usually a private and solemn ceremony attended by the family, godparents and close friends. (The Royal Family uses the name "sponsors" for "godparents", but "godparents" will be used throughout this document.) An exception to these private royal christenings was that of Princess Eugenie of York, daughter of HRH The Duke of York. The ceremony took place two days before Christmas 1990 during a regular Sunday morning church service at Sandringham making Princess Eugenie the first member of the Royal Family to be publicly christened. A royal christening lasts about half an hour, during which hymns and anthems are sung, with the Archbishop of Canterbury often having the honour of baptising the baby. (The Archbishop is the spiritual head of the Church of England, to which the royal family belongs.) The music selection ranges from Christmas carols (Away In A Manger, for example, at Princess Beatrice of York''s December 1988 christening) to specially-composed songs (Princess Beatrice''s Anthem, written originally for Queen Victoria''s youngest daughter, Princess Beatrice, was sung at her 1857 christening and that of the Duke of York''s daughter, Beatrice, in 1988). A traditional custom at a royal christening is the use of consecrated water from the River Jordan with which the child is baptised. The royal family''s use of this water dates back to King Richard I and is based on Christ''s immersion in the Jordan by John the Baptist. The ceremony is followed by photographs of the baby with his or her godparents, and a reception consisting of a celebratory drink, a light luncheon or tea party, a christening cake and gifts for the baby. Christening ceremonies of the past few decades have been relatively free of problems, but this has not always been the case. Royal parents have had the choice of names for their child imposed on them (Queen Victoria chose ''Albert Victor'' for the first child of the Prince and Princess of Wales without consulting them) or have had their choice of names vetoed (when King George V informed the parents that he did not like ''Ann Margaret'', the Duke and Duchess of York''s names for their younger daughter, the royal parents settled on ''Margaret Rose'' which the King did not object). Christening dates are usually chosen in consultation with the Sovereign, but in the case of the Duke and Duchess of Kent (Queen Victoria''s parents), they were told the date of the ceremony at the last minute and given only three days notice by his brother, the Prince Regent. Some royal parents weren''t allowed to organise or interfere in the planning of their child''s christening, such as the one of the future Queen Victoria (her uncle, the Prince Regent, ordered a private ceremony for a few family members and with no dressing up allowed). Today''s christenings usually take place in the afternoon or perhaps in the morning (Princess Eugenie of York), but past christenings (especially in the 1700s and 1800s) used to take place in the evening, anywhere from 6:30 p.m. (Princess Victoria, daughter of Queen Victoria) to 9:00 p.m. (Princess Charlotte, daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Clarence). Recent christenings have been fairly simple, low-key family affairs (whether by choice or by imposition), but others have been highly organized, extravagant and expensive functions. For example, Queen Victoria spent £200,000 on her eldest son''s christening in 1842. The future King Edward VII''s christening included a banquet, a christening cake over eight foot in diameter, fireworks and other entertainment. Her Majesty wore state jewels, the women wore evening dresses and tiaras and the men wore uniforms and decorations. (Queen Victoria was a sentimental woman and kept the ermine-trimmed velvet christening capes used for her two eldest children, Vicky and Bertie. She even kept samples of their christening cakes in small silver boxes. These capes and silver boxes survive today.) Christening Heirlooms (Honiton lace robe, and Lily Font) Two family heirlooms are usually part of traditional royal christenings, the Honiton lace christening robe and the Lily Font. In the early 1840s, Queen Victoria commissioned a lace-maker from Honiton, a village in Devonshire, to make a christening gown using the same design as Her Majesty''s wedding dress. (Queen Victoria''s wedding dress of white Spitalfields satin was trimmed with bobbin Honiton lace.) The royal robe was completed after labour-intensive manual work (each square inch of lace with its intricate floral design took four hours to complete). The gown was made of fine Honiton cotton lace and lined with white satin and trimmed with ruched silk. It was first worn by Princess Victoria, Queen Victoria''s eldest child, at her February 1841 christening. The nearly 160-year old robe is in good condition, but its net background has become fragile and delicate, its white lace has turned creamy, and its Victorian satin has worn out. In 1977, the gown was mended by couturier Norman Hartnell for the christening of Princess Anne''s son, Peter Phillips. After a christening, the robe is carefully hand-washed in sterilised water and dried before being wrapped in layers of black tissue paper and placed in an airtight container. It is then returned to Buckingham Palace where it is stored until it is next required. The royal christening robe has been worn by the children of Queen Victoria, King Edward VII, King George V, King George VI, Queen Elizabeth II, as well as those of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester and Prince George, Duke of Kent. Other children who have worn the robe include those of Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, Princess Alexandra, Hon. Lady Ogilvy, the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal and the present Dukes of York, Gloucester and Kent, as well as the sons of Princess Margaret''s children, David and Sarah. Queen Victoria was not the only member of the royal family to use a christening robe featuring Honiton lace. Her aunt, Princess Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge, had a baby gown of Honiton lace appliqué on machine net for the christening of her children between 1819 and 1833. The infant Princess Victoria was the first royal child to be christened in the portable Lily Font. It was designed by her father Prince Albert and made by E.J. and W. Barnard. The font is a silver-gilt fluted bowl decorated with flowers and ivy, and the scrolled sides of its base feature three cherubs playing lyres. At the base, one can see the royal arms of Queen Victoria and the joint arms of Queen Victoria and her husband, Prince Albert. The font, which is 17" high and 16 1/2" wide, is supported by a lily-shaped stem on an acanthus-leaf base. The Lily font used to be stored at Windsor Castle, but it is now kept at the Tower of London where it is on display in the Jewel House.
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