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Archie Harrison Mountbatten-Windsor will be christened today in Windsor, where the Palace confirmed that he will wear the same gown that his cousins George, Charlotte, and Louis wore to their baptisms. But of course since this dress belongs to the British royal family, its history goes back much farther than that.
Mario Villarroel Lander
Known as the Honiton christening gown, the garment that Archie is wearing is actually a replica of the dress that Queen Victoria commissioned for her first-born child, her daughter Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa . Little Princess Victoria was baptized in 1841 in Buckingham Palace, on her parents’ first wedding anniversary
View photos Photo credit: Getty Images More The gown had been inspired by Queen Victoria‘s own wedding dress, and was made from white silk with a handmade lace overlay. Janet Sutherland, a miner’s daughter from Falkirk , Scotland, made the lace. Queen Victoria later noted in her journal that “Albert & I agreed that all had gone off beautifully & in a very dignified manner.”
The dress was worn by 62 royal babies over the course of its 163 years of royal service. Five monarchs have been baptized in the gown , beginning with Victoria and Albert’s first son, the future Edward VII. George V, Edward VIII, George VI and the Queen all wore the white lace dress, as did Prince Charles, Prince William, and Prince Harry
Queen Victoria and the future King Edward VIII: View photos Photo credit: Getty Images More Queen Elizabeth at her Christening in 1926: View photos Photo credit: Getty Images More Prince Charles’s Christening in 1948: View photos Photo credit: Getty Images More Prince Harry‘s Christening in 1984: View photos Photo credit: Getty Images More Princess Eugenie’s Christening in 1990: View photos Photo credit: Getty Images More The gown was cared for carefully over the years-protocol dictated that it be hand-washed with spring water after each ceremony, before being stored in a dark room.
The last royal to wear the original gown was Lady Louise Windsor , Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex’s daughter, in 2004. The Queen apparently decided then that the gown had earned its retirement, and asked her personal wardrobe advisor, Angela Kelly , to help make a replica
Kelly worked closely with craftsmen in both Britain and Italy to get as close as possible to the original. (The team apparently set aside enough material for another gown, should they need a backup or perhaps one for a royal twin.)
The first to wear the new gown was James, Viscount Severn , Lady Louise‘s younger brother, who was baptized in 2008. Since then, it’s been worn by Savanna and Isla Philips , Lord Frederick Windsor’s daughter Maud ( who goes to school with George ), Zara Tindall’s daughters Lena and Mia , and of course Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis
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