The end of 2021 saw the christening of not one but two of the Queen’s great-grandchildren, August Philip Brooksbank, the son of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank, and Lucas Philip Tindall, the son of Zara and Mike Tindall. Her Majesty made a special effort to attend the unique dual christening, after months of resting due to ill health. With two babies being christened at the same time, one tradition had to be altered slightly: the wearing of the royal christening gown.
It was Princess Eugenie’s son August who had the honour of wearing the gown, which is a replica of one commissioned by Queen Victoria, the original of which was passed down through multiple generations of the Royal Family over the years.
Inspired by her own wedding dress, Queen Victoria commissioned the special piece for the christening of her first-born, Princess Victoria, using the same Honiton lace in honour of the date: her first wedding anniversary. Known ever since as the Honiton christening gown, it was subsequently worn by her other children, and their children. Indeed, it was worn by 62 royal babies over the next 163 years, including five monarchs: King Edward VII, King George V, King Edward VIII, King George VI and our Queen.
Prince Charles, Prince William and Prince Harry were among the last members of the family to wear the original, which was then replicated for future generations. Lady Louise Windsor, the daughter of Prince Edward and the Countess of Wessex, was the last to wear it in 2004, when the Queen decided to have it remade by her dressmaker, Angela Kelly. Prince George, Princess Charlotte and Prince Louis were all christened wearing this new, sturdier version, which is an exact copy.