(LONDON) — In a move that is widely seen as a clear shift from tradition, Prince William and Kate Middleton have largely shunned fellow royals as godparents to their 3-month-old son George. Only one royal is amongst the seven godparents as The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge opted for close family friends instead.
While the christening of Prince George on Wednesday will be an occasion steeped in royal custom, the selection of godparents appears to indicate that William and Kate want their son to grow up with a sense of normality.
“I think they are both very keen to choose people as godparents, who are supposed to guide and advise this child, who are normal themselves and aren’t foreign royal grandees who this child would have nothing in common with,” royal family commentator and writer Roya Nikkhah told ABC News.
By choosing close friends of both he and his wife, Prince William’s selections are in stark contrast to the godparents that were selected for him. Among his guardians are Dukes and Duchesses and even King Constantine of Greece.
For Nikkhah, this move is a further indication of the direction he wants to take the monarchy.
“He’s set down the bar and that’s how I think we’ll see the royal family develop. Wanting to bring in a bit more family life into the way things are done in the monarchy,” she says.
Here’s a look at the very personal appointments:
William van Cutsem: A close childhood friend of Prince William. Prince Charles knew van Cutsem’s father, Hugh, from university and William grew particularly close to the four van Cutsem children during the breakdown of Charles’ marriage to Diana.
Zara Tindall: The only royal in the group, Zara is Prince William’s cousin. She is married to ex-England rugby star Mike Tindall, but is a sporting icon in her own right. She won a gold medal in the 2006 World Equestrian Games.
Julia Samuel: Was a close friend of Princess Diana, William’s mother.
Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton: Served as Private Secretary to The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry from 2005 to 2012. He continues to serve part-time as Principal Private Secretary and Equerry.
Earl Grosvenor: He is the son of the Duke of Westminster.
Emilia Jardine-Paterson: Attended Marlborough College with The Duchess.
Oliver Baker: Attended the University of St. Andrews with The Duke and Duchess.
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