Friday 20 September 2019

Harry and Meghan 'acting like Hollywood A-listers' in keeping baptism private

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex look on during the pre-game ceremonies before the MLB London Series game between Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees at London Stadium on June 29, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Pool/Getty Images)
Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex look on during the pre-game ceremonies before the MLB London Series game between Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees at London Stadium on June 29, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by Dan Istitene - Pool/Getty Images)
Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive on the field prior to the start of the first of a two-game series between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, east London on June 29, 2019
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex receive presents for their son Archie as they meet players of the Boston Red Sox as they attend the Boston Red Sox vs New York Yankees baseball game at the London Stadium in support of the Invictus Games Foundation
Baby Archie. Photo: REUTERS
Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex leave Buckingham Palace in a carriage during Trooping The Colour, the Queen's annual birthday parade, on June 8, 2019 in London, England. (Photo by James Devaney/Getty Images)
New arrival: Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are joined by her mother, Doria Ragland, as they show their new son to the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle on Wednesday
Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive on the field prior to the start of the first of a two-game series between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, east London on June 29, 2019
Meghan and Harry at Trooping the Colour

Tony Jones

Britain's Duke and Duchess of Sussex are employing the public relations strategy of "Hollywood A-listers" by keeping their son's christening private and excluding the press from the family event, a PR expert said.

Meghan and Harry's baby Archie will be baptised on Saturday without any elements of the Windsor Castle ceremony being seen by well-wishers, and details like the names of godparents will not be released.

Mark Borkowski, a public relations consultant, said this was a "declaration" by the couple "that they'll go to any lengths to protect their privacy" and part of a pattern setting out their future intentions.

There has been criticism of the decision not to reveal who will be Archie's godparents and speculation is rife Meghan's best friend, the Canadian stylist Jessica Mulroney, will be chosen while Harry's old schoolmates, brothers Thomas and Charlie van Straubenzee, could be picked.

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive on the field prior to the start of the first of a two-game series between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, east London on June 29, 2019
Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Britain's Meghan, Duchess of Sussex arrive on the field prior to the start of the first of a two-game series between the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox at London Stadium in Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park, east London on June 29, 2019

But tennis star Serena Williams ruled herself out on Thursday night after Meghan watched her play at Wimbledon, saying she will be working on Saturday.

Mr Borkowski said about Harry and Meghan's decision to keep the christening private: "This is what you'd expect a Hollywood A-lister to do, purposefully be sort of antagonist to the traditional system and not engaging with media in any shape or form.

"And this is certainly a declaration that they'll go to any lengths to protect their privacy and not engage with publicity."

He said any "insight" into their lives would be denied because "when there comes a moment when there is an issue, of maybe invasion of privacy, they have a very firm defence about their non-engagement with the media, in all shapes and forms, about their private life."

The PR expert added: "And something as gentle as announcing a godparent, they are down on it immediately."

Read more: Baby Archie's christening: a guide to Meghan and Harry's inner circle - and godparent contenders

New arrival: Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are joined by her mother, Doria Ragland, as they show their new son to the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle on Wednesday
New arrival: Prince Harry and Meghan, Duchess of Sussex are joined by her mother, Doria Ragland, as they show their new son to the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh at Windsor Castle on Wednesday

However, it is understood to protect the privacy of the godparents, who are thought to be private individuals and not public figures, their names are not being released.

There is also the view that as Archie is seventh in line to the throne, and unlikely to be a full-time royal but have a career like the Queen's granddaughter Zara Tindall, he should be afforded some privacy while growing up.

Normally under the Parochial Registers and Records Measure 1978 the names of godparents are publicly listed.

A spokesman 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."

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will perform the baptism of Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor in front of the family and close friends of Harry and Meghan in the private chapel at the Queen's Berkshire home.

It is understood the Queen will not be attending the christening, as she has a prior engagement, but the other expected guests include the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Meghan's mother Doria Ragland.

The Sussexes have once again turned to fashion photographer Chris Allerton, who took their wedding photographs, to capture the moment on Saturday.

Some of Mr Allerton's pictures will be released following the ceremony.

Meghan and Harry at Trooping the Colour
Meghan and Harry at Trooping the Colour

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