Prince George's Christening: How the Chapel Royal at St. James' Palace Prepared for the Celebration

Prince William and Kate Middleton's son will be baptized today in a private ceremony

By Zach Johnson Oct 23, 2013 11:00 AMTags
Prince George, Prince William, Duchess of Cambridge, EMBARGOED 4pm PTTRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

The big day is here! As previously reported, Prince George will be christened today (Wednesday, Oct. 23) in a private, 45-minute ceremony in the Chapel Royal at St. James' Palace in London. Preparations for the celebration have been underway, with a tiny congregation saying prayers for the future King of England over this past weekend on Sunday, Oct. 20.

Prayers were also offered up for Prince William and Kate Middleton, as well as the royal baby's godparents (who have yet to be officially named). The Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, will preside over today's christening. "It's not just intimate, it's absolutely private," a congregation member recently told E! News exclusively.

Of course, there have been some minor setbacks leading up to the highly publicized event. Former choirmaster Andrew Gant left his post in July and was only recently replaced after Queen Elizabeth II personally put out an advertisement. "It's been rather hectic to say the least!" a source says. "The choir has been practicing every moment they can and will do a wonderful job. But of all the times the Chapel Royal could host an event which will go down in history, this would have to be the worst!"

The small choir—featuring six men and 10 boys—will perform a selection of spiritual songs. The men will wear robes embossed with the Queen's crest, while the boys will wear distinctive scarlet and gold state coats. The choir will be seated beneath a beautiful stained glass window.

The Chapel Royal at St. James' Palace seats about 40 people in four long pews that line the room. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's visitors will sit on luxurious deep purple velvet cushions and kneel to pray on unusually thick prayer cushions made from the same fabric.

The room itself features gilded ceilings and a flagstone floor, located just above where Mary I's heart is buried. The chapel is decorated simply with white flowers and lit by (electric) candlelight. The organ pipes are inlayed into one of the walls of the room.

TRH The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

The Lily Font, which will likely be used to carry water from the River Jordan, was recently moved to the chapel from the Tower of London where it forms part of the Crown Jewels (as do various christening cups and bowls).

The christening will be the first time in more than 100 years that four generations of royals will be photographed together. "William and Kate apparently want this to be a low-profile, personal event," the congregation member said. "While it's stunning, and regal in a quiet way, it's a million miles from the pomp and circumstance of their wedding."