In a few weeks or maybe even sooner, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, a.k.a. Prince William and Kate Middleton, will become the most famous parents on the planet. That’s a given. What’s less certain, however, is whom they will choose to become the most famous godparents on the planet — an honor that will give a glimpse into the trusted inner circle of the new generation of royals.
The British press has been speculating for months that the infant heir’s christening will see a reunion of sorts of Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton, who were famously paired in the royal wedding party in 2011. Indeed, in December, online bookmaker William Hill gave 1-1 odds for both Harry and Pippa to be asked to be godparents.
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It also seems certain that any godparents will find themselves in exalted company. Royal children typically benefit from more than half a dozen godparents to look out for their spiritual well-being, at least some of whom are blue-blooded relatives. When Queen Elizabeth II — then known as Princess Elizabeth — was christened on May 29, 1926, her parents selected seven people to serve as her godparents, including her paternal grandparents, King George V and Queen Mary. When Prince Charles was christened on Dec. 15, 1948, he was given eight, including his grandfather King George VI. Prince William and Prince Harry each have half a dozen godparents.
“If you go back to the early part of the 20th century,” says Joe Little, managing editor of Majesty magazine, “you’ll find that a number of royal godparents were distinctly royal themselves, in as much as they might be kings or queens.”
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These days the British monarchy is a little more open-minded — after all, Kate herself is a commoner — and a royal title is not a prerequisite for godparental duties. “It’s very much a case of do as you wish to do, not as you think others would want you to do,” says Little. That means William and Kate could pick any number of good friends — and they have a lot, as evidenced by their seemingly endless attendance at various weddings around the U.K. Or perhaps William will pick Crown Prince Pavlos and Crown Princess Marie-Chantal of Greece, the parents of his own godchild Prince Constantine Alexios, or Lady Rose Astor and Hugh van Cutsem, whose daughter Grace, also his godchild, was the pint-size guest who photo-bombed the royal couple on their wedding day.
No matter who’s named, though, they’re certain to receive their fair share of media attention. “It’s a very prestigious position,” says Little, “and a sign of true friendship and trust on the part of the royal parents.”