Prince Albert Edward, the eldest son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, was christened at St. George’s Chapel at Windsor on 25th January 1842. In the previous four years, Britain had witnessed the coronation of a new Queen, a royal wedding and the birth of the Prince’s older sister, Princess Victoria.
Queen Victoria recalled the event in her Journal -
"Bells were singing & guns firing when I awoke. I offered up earnest prayers that the Almighty would grant this blessing to today's solemn religious act, & that our little Boy might become a true & virtuous Christian in every respect, & that he may grow up like his beloved Father! It had been snowing, but the morning was fine. — Breakfast at 9 with all the Royal personages. — We went upstairs to see the Children, & the Dss of Buccleuch came with us, to practice how she was to take the Child from Mrs Roberts to give it to the Archbishop. — The sun began to shine brightly & the scene became most animated. — Bands playing, Troops marching in all directions, Foot Guards, the 72nd, the Blues on horseback, & Artillery. It put me so in mind of my wedding day. Began dressing in the Robes of the Garter, which, I, Albert, & all the Knights of the Garter, present at the Ceremony, wore. I had my large diamond Diadem on. We drove together to St. George's Chapel, the Baby, following in another carriage with Mrs Southey, Mrs Roberts & Mrs Brough. We waited a few moments in the Sacristy, till the Sponsors & Royal personages had taken their places, & then entered the Chapel. We were all on a sort of "haut pas", quite close to the Altar & it is impossible to describe the wonderful imposing effect of the truly beautiful old chapel with its banners, the music, the lights on the Altar, & the Bishops & Clergy standing before it. It filled me with holy reverent, & peaceful feelings. The idea of it's being the last resting place of those related to me, including my Father, had nothing painful in it, but on the contrary was calming for the spot is so fine, peaceful & hollowed. The Child was brought in, as soon as it was time for him to be given to the Archbishop. The Dss of Buccleuch took him from Mrs Roberts, & placed him in the Archbishop's arms. He was as good as "Pussy" had been at her Christening. The King gave the names most distinctly, — Albert Edward, & what a pleasure it is to me that our dear Boy bears his beloved Father's name.
He was taken away at the end of the Service, when the Hallelujah Chorus was sung, which certainly is magnificent, followed by the Archbishop giving the Blessing. The Sponsors were: the King of Prussia, Mama Marie (represented by Mama), Uncle Cambridge, Grandmama, (represented by Aunt Cambridge) Aunt Sophia (represented by Augusta, & Uncle Ferdinand. The Font, the same one as was used at Victoria's Christening was placed inside a very fine old Font, in which all the Royal Family have been baptised, & which I believe dates from the time of Charles Irst. We waited a little while in Wolsey's Hall, & we thanked the King for his great kindness in coming. We then drove off, as we came. — At ½ p. 2 the Installation of the Garter, took place in the Throne Room. The King was delighted at receiving the Order. We then lunched ( as we breakfasted), still in our Robes. Darling "Pussy" was brought in, looking really lovely in a little white satin frock, richly trimmed with lace, & she behaved so well. She afterwards came to my room, & was very dear, standing up by my side & saying, "Papa". — Laid down & rested. — Wrote in my Journal, & went up to the Nursery. — At ½ p. 7 we went into the Grand Reception Room, where the King &, Royal Family, &c — were assembled & then into the Waterloo Gallery, where were all the Company.
The Banquet was in St. George's Hall, & it was a most brilliant & splendid sight. I sat between the King, who led me in, & Uncle Sussex. After dinner we sat in the Waterloo Gallery, where my Band (increased) played. The magnificent Wine Cooler was placed at the end of the Gallery, beneath the Band & was used for the 1rst time. It was filled with Punch which was poured into each cup by an immense ladle, in the shape of a shell, & everyone stood round the table drinking the Baby's health, in the Punch out of golden goblets, whilst the Band was playing. It was quite like in olden times & like what one sees represented on the stage. The Christening Cake was beautiful. We retired at ½ p. 11. — Nothing could have gone off better or more perfectly than the whole day's proceedings. We shall ever look back to it with pleasure & satisfaction, & to the impressiveness of the Service in the Chapel, can never be forgotten."
© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2012
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