Duke and Duchess of Sussex could christen Lilibet in US as Britain is ruled out
The Duke and Duchess of Sussexes’s daughter, Lilibet, will not be christened in the UK, according to royal sources.
It had been suggested the couple would return to Britain to have the four-month-old baptised at Windsor Castle like their son Archie, two. However, a palace insider said: “There will not be a christening in the UK. It is not happening.”
Another source suggested it was “highly unlikely”.
It comes after a spokeswoman for Harry and Meghan confirmed on Sunday that they would not be flying into Britain to attend a party to honour Diana, Princess of Wales.
Friends of the late Princess, including Sir Elton John, are said to be attending the event for 100 guests at Kensington Palace with the Duke of Cambridge. It is intended to thank donors who helped fund the statue of Diana unveiled in the summer on what would have been her 60th birthday.
Christening likely at Episcopal Church of the US
Lilibet is likely to be christened into the Episcopal Church of the US, which is a member church of the worldwide Anglican Communion. Bishop Michael Curry, who delivered the sermon at the couple’s wedding at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018, is the head of the Episcopal Church and could officiate.
If baptised in California, where the Sussexes live in a £11 million mansion in Montecito, “Lili” would not automatically be considered a “member” of the Church of England, until she came to Britain and joined a Church of England congregation.
Anyone can say they are a member of the Church of England if they worship in a Church of England church and are not a member of an incompatible religion.
A member of the Royal family does not need to be baptised to remain in the line of succession.
Catholics cannot be part of line of succession
However, Catholics cannot remain in the line of succession. A number of the Duke of Kent’s children and grandchildren have lost their place in the line of succession by following in their mother Katherine, the Duchess of Kent’s footsteps and converting to Catholicism.
Autumn Kelly, the former wife of the Queen’s eldest grandchild Peter Philips, was raised a Catholic but was received into the Church of England prior to their marriage in 2008. The couple divorced earlier this year.
Similarly, Meghan, 40, who was raised a Christian, underwent a private baptism officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury to become a member of the Church of England before her wedding.
The ceremony reportedly took place at St James’s Palace and was conducted by the Most Reverend Justin Welby, who anointed the Duchess with holy water from the River Jordan. Prince Harry, 37, was present for the service at the Royal Chapel along with Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
A spokesman for the Church of England declined to comment.
A spokeswoman for the Sussexes said the plans for the christening were still being finalised and that claims to the contrary were “mere speculation”.