Sources close to the new parents say they have chosen not to have media attend the event because they intend to raise their son as a private citizen. Though Harry was baptized at St. George’s Chapel and the couple were married there, holding the ceremony in the Windsor Castle chapel will ensure absolute privacy.
“It’s a case of starting as they mean to go on and laying down markers,” explains a source. “They want Archie to have an ordinary childhood and they plan to shield him from too much media exposure.” Harry particularly is said to want his son to grow up away from the media spotlight.
There will be around 25 guests, including the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh are not expected to attend, however Prince William, Duchess Catherine, and Meghan’s mother Doria Ragland will be present, along with the couple’s chosen godparents.
The decision to make the baptism private is another example of the couple forging their own path. Traditionally royal christenings have been public affairs. Before the beginning of hospital photo calls after the birth, it was the public’s first chance to see royal babies. The Cambridges had media facilities in place for the christenings of all their children, and while the service has always been private, the arrivals at the church were filmed. In the case of Princess Charlotte, who was christened at St. Mary Magdalene church in Sandringham, well-wishers were invited into the surrounding area to see the family and their new baby as they entered.
Harry and Meghan have been more protective of Archie, who has only been seen once and never in public. They allowed a small media pool to photograph, film, and interview them inside Windsor Castle two days after Archie’s birth. Meghan did not want to pose for the traditional photo call outside of the hospital and instead they arranged a more intimate photo call with the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh and Meghan’s mother. Since then, they released two pictures of Archie on Instagram to celebrate Mother’s Day in the US and Father’s Day.
Harry and Meghan are likely to come in for criticism for breaking the mold. Royal writer Penny Junor told the Sunday Times said the couple were making a mistake. “They can’t have it both ways. Either they are totally private, pay for their own house and disappear out of view or play the game the way it is played. Seeing Archie and his godparents arriving at the christening is what people are interested in; it isn’t baring your baby’s soul, just giving the public who love and support them a crumb to enjoy. If they want it to be really private, hold it in a parish church, not St George’s Chapel where royal ceremonies are held.”
Their decision to keep Archie’s baptism private comes just days after the publication of the Royal Family’s expenditure, which revealed that British taxpayers contributed £2.4m towards the renovation of their new home, Frogmore Cottage.