Prince George will have six godparents but the news is shocking; they will mostly be commoners. The Queen has agreed to break tradition and allow the inclusion of ordinary men and women in this poignant role. Press has been noisy about the Prince and Duchess who have chosen their oldest friends to take up the task of being godparents to Prince George Alexander Louis, Prince George of Cambridge. Never before has the British Royal Family welcomed ordinary people in this way. The christening is at 3pm on Wednesday October 23rd and the full list of godparents will then be revealed. It is likely that Pippa Middleton and Prince Harry will also be among the chosen.
Baby Prince George will be offered godparent guidance from his parent’s school and college friends who are far removed from the responsibility of Kingdom. Mr. Fergus Boyd, a school friend of Prince William from his days at Eton, will be a godfather. Now a wealthy financier, Mr. Boyd was also a housemate during Prince William and Kate Middleton’s days at St Andrew’s University. Then there is Emilia d’Erlanger who is one of Kate’s oldest friends from her school days at Marlborough College. Now an interior designer, she is no princess. Finally, Hugh van Cutsem will also be a godparent. His daughter was a bridesmaid at the royal wedding and Prince William is already godparent to Mr. Cutsem’s daughter.
The Royal Family stands for grandeur, leadership, heritage, superiority and other-worldliness. Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge want to bring normal life to their little son, but it is not to be. Growing up with wealth and powers that are far from the experience of non royals, this effort to blend with the people over whom he will one day reign, is doomed.
The reality is that these godparents will offer emotional support as they see fit, through the roller coaster of daily events from childhood to adulthood. Prince George might want to seek nurturing and supportive guidance from his godparents, but how can his parents childhood friends offer wise advice to a lifestyle about which they are oblivious? The choice of these godparents is shocking.
A future King of England will have to contend with leadership issues, financial demands and poignant matters of culture and identity that are far beyond the lifestyle of non-royals. One day, Prince George will be the one and only Head of State of the UK and 15 other commonwealth realms and will have endless royal palaces, castles, homes and lands under his rule. His life will be obsessed with the, “symbolism, tradition and meaning” that are an “integral part” of the role of Head of State and King, notes the official website for the British Monarchy. His guidance cannot come from a businessman or a designer, however much they mean well.
The role of a godparent is twofold. In the untimely event of the parent’s death, the godparent will take the child into their home and hearts and provide a family for the child’s life. This is not a legal agreement but an emotional one and it is not expected that Prince George could end up living in a small terraced house. Additionally, it is the godparent who is responsible for seeing that a Catholic or Christian child receives an all rounded religious education. Given that Prince George is heir to the British throne, it is unlikely that his godparents will be the ones that will instill his religious sensibility.
The christening was expected to be in the music room at Buckingham Palace, but again there will be a change here. This christening of Prince George will be in the Chapel Royal at St James Palace. The kings and queens of olde England would be shocked by all these variations in the way the godparents have been chosen. And so they should be.
By Vicky Judah