Prince Harry will miss out on being named godfather (again) to Princess Charlotte
Prince Harry will miss out on godparent duties for a second time when Princess Charlotte is christened on Sunday.
The 30-year-old Prince had been one of the favourites to be chosen as a godparent, having missed out on fulfilling the role for his nephew Prince George, but he embarked on a three-month trip to Africa at the end of June in the knowledge that he would not be needed for the ceremony.
As Princess Charlotte’s uncle, he will be so close to her that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are understood not to feel the need to honour him with a godparent role.
And he will not be the only member of the younger generation of the Royal family to be disappointed.
Royal sources have hinted that only six godparents will be chosen, rather than the seven that Prince George was given, meaning there is unlikely to be room for more than one close relation.
Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie, Peter Phillips and Mike Tindall are all among the contenders to be chosen as godparents by the Duke and Duchess, but almost all of them will miss out, just as they did when Prince George was baptised.
Princess Beatrice, 26, as the older of the two princesses, is the bookies’ favourite to be chosen. She is close to the Duke and often socialises with him and Prince Harry, though the Duke is reportedly not a huge fan of her long-term boyfriend Dave Clark, who would have to be invited to the christening as Beatrice’s partner. Mr Clark was not invited to the Duke and Duchess’s wedding and there is said to be a “clash of personalities” between him and the Duke.
Princess Eugenie, 25, is closer to Prince Harry than Prince William, having introduced Harry to his ex-girlfriend Cressida Bonas, but is almost as likely as her sister to be chosen. She would be the youngest godparent if she was asked to perform the role.
Alternatively, the Duke and Duchess may decide that Peter Phillips, 37, as a man with no royal title who has built a successful career in sports marketing, may be an ideal role model for the Princess, whose childhood the couple want to be as down to earth as possible.
Mike Tindall, 36, who has become a favourite of the Duke since his marriage to Zara Phillips, the only royal godparent to Prince George, is also a strong contender, and the couple’s daughter Mia, who is 18 months old, will no doubt become a playmate of Princess Charlotte as she gets older.
Pippa and James Middleton have been heavily backed to be chosen as godparents, but after neither was chosen for Prince George, it seems unlikely that they will be asked second time around. Like Prince Harry, they will spend so much time with their niece that a godparent role may seem superfluous.
Among the friends of the Duke and Duchess who may have had the call, Hugh van Cutsem, whose brother William is godfather to Prince George, is the hot favourite. He and his family are lifelong friends of the Duke and of the Prince of Wales and once lived at Anmer Hall, the Duke and Duchess’s Norfolk home. Thomas van Straubenzee, a friend of the Duke since they attended the same prep school, will also have been on the shortlist.
Laura Lopes, daughter of the Duchess of Cornwall, is another strong contender, together with the Duke of Westminster’s children Earl Grosvenor, Lady Edwina, Lady Tamara and Lady Viola.
Alicia Fox-Pitt, the Duchess’s best friend from her school days at Marlborough, will be disappointed if she is not chosen, as will Tiggy Pettifer, the Duke’s former nanny.
The couple could also turn to their loyal staff for pastoral support for their daughter. The Duke’s mentor and Principal Private Secretary Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton is godfather to Prince George, and the couple could reward the Duke’s trusted Private Secretary Miguel Head or the Duchess’s Private Secretary Rebecca Deacon with a godparent role.
Choosing Mr Head, who was among the first gay men to get married following the change in the law last year, would be a refreshingly forward-thinking move.
The christening will take place at 4.30pm at the church of St Mary Magdalene, Sandringham, with fewer than 30 people present.
Joining the Duke and Duchess and their two children will be the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, the Middleton family and the godparents and their partners.
The service will be conducted by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, supported by the Rev Canon Jonathan Riviere, rector of the Sandringham group of parishes.
Several thousand members of the public are expected to take up the Duke and Duchess’s invitation to share in the day by standing in a paddock outside the churchyard in the same spot that the public stand when the Royal family attend the Christmas Day service at the same church.
They will have the opportunity to see the Duke, Duchess, Prince George and Princess Charlotte together in public for the first time.
After the half-hour service the guests will retire to Sandringham for afternoon tea hosted by the Queen and for the official christening photographs, taken by Mario Testino.