It's been a busy year so far for the British royal family, what with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle's wedding, royal tours, and countless official engagements. And last week marked another significant event for the Windsors, Prince Louis' christening. Although it was an intimate and private occasion, Kensington Palace has now released Prince Louis' christening photos, and wow, they are probably the cutest pics you will see all day — scratch that, this year.
Louis — the third child of Prince William and Kate Middleton, behind Prince George and Princess Charlotte — was christened by Archbishop Justin Welby at the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace on Monday, July 9, reports the BBC. It was a relatively quiet affair, with just a few members of the royal family and the Middletons in attendance, alongside all six of Prince Louis' godparents: Nicholas van Cutsem, Guy Pelly, Harry Aubrey-Fletcher, Laura Meade, Robert Carter, and Lucy Middleton.
Phew. Seriously, that's a lot of godparents.
Although there were some photos published shortly after the ceremony, the official Kensington Palace Twitter account released four previously unseen photographs taken at the christening itself, on Sunday, July 15. The images were snapped in the Morning Room and garden of Clarence House following the service, and were taken by photographer Matt Holyoak, who has form working with the royal family. (Indeed, he was also the photographer who took images to commemorate the 70th wedding anniversary of the queen and the Duke of Edinburgh last year.)
The first image (above) shows both the Windsor and Middleton families together, with William, Kate, George, Charlotte, and Louis sitting in the first row, and Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Camilla Parker Bowles, Prince Charles, Carole and Michael Middleton, Pippa and James Matthews, and James Middleton standing behind them.
But, what for the other snaps?
Well, the second photo released solely features the royal family together, with Markle appearing in her first official royal family snap since her wedding.
The third photo is another first, marking the first official portrait of Prince William and Kate's family of five since Louis' arrival earlier this year. Meanwhile the fourth provides an intimate snapshot of mother and baby, with Kate cradling Louis in those gorgeous Clarence House gardens.
But, is there a secret fifth snap?
Well, kind of.
On Monday, Kensington Palace uploaded another picture of Kate and a happy baby Louis in the Clarence House garden on Instagram — and it truly gives me all the feels.
But, while all these photos are super lovely and I will for sure cry about each and every single one of them later in the day, an important question remains: Why the heck are the queen and Prince Phillip missing from the royal christening photos?
Well, the Press Association reports that the Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip skipped out on the event a while back. "The decision [for the queen and Prince Philip to miss Louis's christening] was not made on health grounds," Buckingham Palace said in a statement. "And it is understood to have been mutually agreed by the Queen and the Cambridges some time ago."
Nevertheless, despite her absence, the queen totally wangled her way into a least one of the royal christening snaps. But. how? Well, look at the first image again, and you'll see that just behind Papa Middleton's head is an oil on canvas portrait of the Queen, which was painted by Michael Noakes between 1972 and 1973.
So long, Photoshop. An oil canvas drop in is the new way to drop into an event you didn't actually attend. All hail Queen Elizabeth.