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The Queens Godchildren

30 Christening Gifts

How many godchildren do you have? Two … maybe three? Or are you looking for a Christening gift for your first godchild. Well spare a thought for The Queen. At the last count, Queen Elizabeth II had amassed a grand total of 30 godchildren.

THE QUEEN'S GODSONS

Guy Nevill - son of Lord Rupert Nevill and Lady Camilla Wallop
Christening in 1945

Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia - son of Peter II, King of Yugoslavia and Princess Alexandra of Greece
Christening in 1945

Charles Strachey, 4th Baron O'Hagan - son of Major the Honourable Anthony Strachey and Lady Mary Palmer
Christening in 1945

Julian Hardinge, 4th Baron Hardinge of Penhurst - son of George Hardinge, 3rd Baron Hardinge of Penhurst and Janet Balfour
Christening in 1945

Edward Hay - son of Sir Philip Hay and Margaret Seymour
Christening in 1950

Honourable Michael Knatchbull - son of John Knatchbull, 7th Baron Brabourne and Patricia Mountbatten, 2nd Countess Mountbatten of Burma
Christening in 1950

David Hall - son of Roger Hall and Audrey Mary Wheeler
Christening in 1950

Viscount Lascelles - son of George Lascelles, 7th Earl of Harewood and Marion Stein
Christening in 1950

Henry Percy, 11th Duke of Northumberland - son of Hugh Percy, 10th Duke of Northumberland and Lady Elizabeth Montagu-Douglas-Scott
Christening in 1953

Christopher Abel Smith - son of Brigadier Sir Alexander Abel Smith and Henriette Cadogan
Christening in 1954

George Herbert, 8th Earl of Carnarvon - son of Henry Herbert, 7th Earl of Carnarvon and Jean Wallop
Christening in 1956

George Leveson-Gower, 6th Earl Granville son of James Leveson-Gower, 5th Earl Granville and Doon Plunket
Christening in 1959

Honourable James Hussey - son of Marmaduke Hussey, Baron Hussey and Lady Susan Waldegrave
Christening in 1961

Viscount Linley - son of Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon and HRH Princess Margaret of Great Britain
Christening in 1961

James Ogilvy - son of Right Honourable Sir Angus Ogilvy and HRH Princess Alexandra of Great Britain
Christening in 1964

Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer - son of John Spencer, 8th Earl Spencer and Honourable Frances Burke Roche
Christening in 1964

THE QUEEN'S GODDAUGHTERS

Lavinia King - daughter of Lieutenant-Commander James King and Honourable Elizabeth White
Christening in 1946

Rosemary Elphinstone - daughter of Reverend the Honourable Andrew Elphinstone and Jean Hambro
Christening in 1947

Sandra Butter - daughter of Major Sir David Butter and Myra Wernher
Christening in 1948

Caroline Longman - daughter of Mark Longman and Lady Elizabeth Lambart
Christening in 1951

Georgina Villiers - daughter of Honourable Nicholas Villiers and Mary Weld-Forester
Christening in 1952

Harriet Colville - daughter of Sir John Colville and Lady Margaret Egerton
Christening in 1953

Victoria Rhodes - daughter of Denys Rhodes and Honourable Margaret Elphinstone
Christening in 1953

Lady Virginia FitzRoy - daughter of Hugh FitzRoy, 11th Duke of Grafton and Fortune Smith
Christening in 1953

Princess Friederike of Hanover - daughter of Prince Georg Wilhelm of Hanover and Princess Sophie of Greece
Christening in 1954

Elizabeth Dugdale - daughter of Sir John Dugdale and Kathryn Stanley
Christening in 1958

Katherine Somervell - daughter of Peter Somervell and Diana Bowes-Lyon
Christening in 1961

Edwina Hicks - daughter of David Hicks and Lady Pamela Mountbatten (younger daughter of the 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma)
Christening: 1962

Princess Theodora of Greece daughter of Constantine II and Princess Anne Marie of Denmark
Christening in 1983

For us mere mortals, choosing an appropriate Christening gift, remembering a birthday or finding another Christmas present, on top of providing the occasional piece of pithy moral and spiritual advice, can be taxing at the best of times. So how does The Queen manage with thirty little souls to guide? That's a lot of Christening gifts to choose.

Well, firstly we can assume that she doesn’t spend too much time pottering around the shops trying to find that special Christening gift. Similarly, an equerry will probably remind her when the next birthday is due and a Lady-in-Waiting or a Woman of the Bedchamber will be on hand to recommend the most popular Christmas presents for the little darlings. I think we are safe in assuming that the godchildren don’t come high on that list of forgotten jobs that keeps the rest of us awake at 3am in the morning.

The Queen has also spread her responsibilities over a few decades. To tell the truth, most of the little darlings aren’t really that “little” at all. The oldest godson is now well into his sixties, whilst the youngest goddaughter is already in her twenties. So, with a bit of judicious planning, The Queen has managed to dilute her godparent’s duties over time.

Part of a godparent’s purpose is binding ever-tighter links between friends and family. Never has this been more true than in the case of the old family firm that is “Royalty.” Look down the list of The Queen’s godchildren and it is easy to see ties and connections being strengthened and alliances forged. One of The Queen’s first godsons was Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia, her last goddaughter was Princess Theodora of Greece. There are Barons, Dukes and Viscounts scattered about all over the place. And when you do find someone on the list who sounds just like the rest of us – take George Herbert for example – he turns out to be an earl … the 8th Earl of Carnarvon to be exact. Yes, becoming a godparent really is a case of “keeping it in the family.”

However, as The Queen so correctly observed: “Like all the best families, we have our share of eccentricities, of impetuous and wayward youngsters and of family disagreements.” So, if we look a bit further down the list of godsons, we find Charles Spencer, 9th Earl Spencer, brother of Diana, Princess of Wales. The Queen was present at his Christening on 14 July 1964 in the Henry VII Chapel at Westminster Abbey. It's worth considering, that the next time they faced each other in Westminster Abbey was at Diana’s funeral when Earl Spencer read his moving and rather controversial eulogy in front of a global TV audience of around 2.5 billion viewers.

As a final note, you should be aware that The Queen is not alone in taking on numerous godchildren. Prince Charles already has thirty-three godchildren, while Prince William started assuming godparental responsibility way back in 1999. His first chosen godson followed family tradition; he was Prince Konstantine Alexios of Greece. And if they are looking for that special sterling silver Christening gift, they know where to come.