Royals

Duchess Kate’s christening countdown

We take a look inside proud mum Duchess Kate's first few weeks with her gorgeous newborn daughter Charlotte.
Duchess Kate

Compared to the fanfare surrounding her birth, Princess Charlotte’s first month of life has been remarkably laid-back. The newest member of the royal family has been ensconced with her parents, Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, and her big brother Prince George at their country home. It’s unlikely she’ll be seen in public until her christening, which could be another two months away.

Her family is making the most of this time out of the limelight to get used to the changes inside their household, and deal with the lack of sleep that comes with having a newborn. At an official function, William confessed to members of the England FIFA Women’s World Cup football squad that he is feeling the effects of fatherhood.

“He was saying he’s really enjoying being a father and Princess Charlotte is keeping him up,” said captain Steph Houghton, adding, “[That’s] probably why his eyes are looking a little bit tired.”

It seems the princess isn’t the only one who’s causing a few sleepless nights. “He was saying Prince George never stops moving and always keeps them busy.”

Princess Charlotte has been enjoying a low-key lifestyle in the countryside at Anmer Hall.

Kate’s parents Carole and Michael Middleton have moved into Anmer Hall to help with baby duties and the general running of the house – and Kate also has a full-time nanny, Mario Borrallo. With William starting his new job as an air ambulance pilot this week, Kate welcomes having her mum on hand.

Carole (60) is likely to stay at 10-bedroom Anmer Hall for at least another month. “The atmosphere at Anmer Hall is very much more middle class than would ever have been imaginable in a royal home just a decade ago,” says a palace insider. “This is how Kate wants it. And William – although far from being the pushover he is sometimes portrayed as – is wise enough to want what Kate wants.”

The informal atmosphere at Anmer Hall includes Spaniard Maria calling William (32), Kate (33) and her parents by their first names. “It’s all very relaxed and self-consciously ‘normal’,” says the source.

How much of a look-in the other side of the family will get remains to be seen. Proud granddad Prince Charles has already privately expressed his displeasure at how little he gets to see of George, and the fact that his newest grandchild is a girl is only likely to make him want to spend as much time with her as possible. When he and Diana, Princess of Wales, were married, he made no secret of the fact he’d like a daughter, and when Charlotte Elizabeth Diana was born on May 2, he could barely contain his delight.

So far, we’ve only caught a few glimpses of Princess Charlotte, swaddled in a blanket as her proud parents emerged from St Mary’s Hospital shortly after her birth.

“I’m really rather thrilled,” Charles (66) told crowds on an official visit a few days later. “I was hoping for a grand-daughter – someone to look after me when I am very old.”

He added that it was likely he was going to “spoil her rotten”. The first time we will probably see Charles – or indeed any other member of the family – in public with Charlotte will be at her christening. It’s expected to be held sometime in July, before the senior royals go to Scotland for their summer holidays. George was christened in October 2013, three months after his birth on July 22, and it’s expected Kate and William will also wait three months for Charlotte’s special ceremony.

The England Women’s World Cup football squad presented Prince William with a football jersey for the little princess.

While details won’t be released until closer to the time, it is likely that Charlotte will be christened in the same place as her big brother – at the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace. She’ll also likely wear the same exquisite lace christening gown – a 2004 replica of an 1841 gown worn by every royal baby until it became too delicate.

Waiting three months before Charlotte is christened will not only give her parents time to get her into a routine, but will also allow Kate time to shed her pregnancy weight.

And if the way she bounced back into shape after having George two years ago is anything to go by, it’s not going to be too difficult. With George, she lost the 13.1kg she gained in just a couple of months, and she’s hoping the 11.3kg she put on with Charlotte will be even easier to shift.But she won’t be embarking on any fad diets or strenuous exercise programmes, say royal insiders.

Until she gets the go-ahead from her doctors to do slightly more vigorous exercise after her six-week postnatal check-up, she is going for gentle walks in the grounds of Anmer Hall with her daughter. Later, once it is safe, she will step that up to more energetic walks, specially-tailored Pilates sessions and laps of the heated swimming pool she and William had installed at Anmer.

The Middleton family have been a huge support to Kate, with her mother Carole moving into Anmer Hall.

Her mum Carole is on hand to supervise healthy meals – Kate is following in father-in-law Prince Charles’ footsteps and has developed a fondness for organic food. But she is also taking heed of advice not to diet or drastically cut back on calories, especially while breastfeeding, and is listening to her body when it comes to what and how much she eats.

“She’s eating plenty of wholegrains, dairy products and protein, plus lots of healthy fats, fruit and veges,” says a source. “But she’s not denying herself tasty desserts either.”

The Princess is expected to be christened in the same gown as George.

As for the names of Charlotte’s godparents, they are likely to be released at the very last minute, but bookies in the UK are already taking bets. As they did with George, it is thought that Kate and William will again break with tradition and, instead of asking foreign royalty and other dignitaries, family and friends will be named.

Hot contenders are William’s cousin Princess Beatrice and his brother Prince Harry, along with his close friends Hugh van Cutsem, Guy Pelly and Thomas van Straubenzee. William’s stepsister Laura Lopes – daughter of Camilla, Duchess of Cambridge – is another possibility as are both of Kate’s siblings, Pippa and James. Tiggy Legge-Bourke, who was William and Harry’s beloved “companion” while they were growing up, may also be given the honour.

There’s a good chance wee Charlotte will follow in her mum’s footsteps and become a sporty youngster and teen. She could inherit the same slender, athletic frame that both her mother and her aunt Pippa are blessed with, as well as their great attitude towards sport. Both girls have been actively involved in sport for most of their lives and took part in hockey, cycling, sailing, tennis and rowing at their secondary school, Marlborough College.

Kate will probably encourage both her children to enjoy an active childhood, like she did herself.

Kate’s public profile has restricted how much she can take part in sporting events – she trained for a dragonboat racing team in 2007 but had to drop out, allegedly because of all the unwanted attention it cast on the team. Pippa, however, still participates in numerous gruelling events, including an eight-person team that cycled 4800km across the United States for charity.

Friends say Kate wants to encourage her children to be as active as possible as soon as they can walk, and she certainly seems to have achieved that with 22-month-old George, who loves to play chase and often has his parents running around after him.

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