Monday, March 25, 2013

Princess Mary's son, George, is baptized

Marlene A. Eilers Koenig collection
March 25, 1923

Princess Mary's son was baptised today, Palm Sunday, at St Mary's, the small village church at Goldsborough, which adjoins the Harewood estate. The Princess is married to Viscount Lascelles, heir apparent to the Earldom of Harewood.

The little boy was given the names George Henry Hubert. According to the New York Times report, the baby "cried lustily during the great part" of the ceremony. Local villagers consider crying at a baptism to be lucky.

Invitations to the baptism were limited to the family and to the local Goldsborough residents and Harewood estate tenants. "Elaborate precautions were taken to keep visiting strangers away," as the police presence had been increased to forty.

Inside the chapel, the baptism took place at the "close of morning service, when King George V and Queen Mary, Princess Mary and Lord Lascelles, the sponsors and their proxies took their places around the baptismal font. As the ceremony processed, Master Lascelles "promptly started to cry, and his voice gradually gathered strength until the congregation could not hear the words of the baptismal ceremony."

Princess Mary and her husband "at first looked somewhat uncomfortable, but soon resigned themselves to what could not be helped."

George's cries "were stilled for a moment" when Queen Mary took her grandson into his arms and announced his names, George Henry Hubert. Her "voice could be distinctly heard in every part of the church. But George "made another vociferous protest" when he "felt the touch of the cold water" as the  Archbishop of York baptized him.

The Archbishop then said: "In order that with a full heart we may singly and collectively command this child to love of God let there be silence for one minute."
The congregation then knelt, and indeed, there was silence, even from the Hon. George Lascelles, who is the first grandchild for King George V and Queen Mary.

The godparents are Queen Alexandra (the Countess of Harewood stood proxy), Lady Patricia Ramsay (Lady Mary Trefusis), the Earl of Harewood, who is ill (his son, Major the Hon. Edward Lascelles), and Prince George represented General Sir George Higginson, who is the oldest living officer in the Grenadier Guards. Lord Lascelles formerly served in the Grenadier Guards.

The baby wore the family baptismal gown that was first worn in 1840 by Queen Victoria's first child, Princess Victoria.

In the afternoon, the four grandparents "planted a lime tree in the grounds" to commemorate George's baptism.

As the King entered the church, the choir led the singing of two verses of the National Anthem. Lord Lascelles read both the lessons, and the hymns included a Palm Sunday anthem, "Ride on in Majesty," and "Loving Shepherd of Thy Son," a childrens' hymn "specially chosen" by Queen Mary.

After the singing of the hymn "All Glory, Laud and Honor," the chapel doors were "thrown open," and the nurse carried in the baby as the royal family and their guests proceeded to the baptistery, for the actual ceremony.
Queen Alexandra, who is one of the godparents, attended divine service at the chapel at Marlborough House. She was accompanied by the Princess Royal and Princess Maud.

Queen Olga of Greece, the Princess Royal with Princess Maud and Grand Duchess Xenia visited Queen Alexandra today, and stayed for lunch at Marlborough House, according to the Court Circular.

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