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Updated: 10/24/2013 01:19:00AM

A prince is christened

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Britain's Prince George is held by his father Prince William as they arrive at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace in London, for the christening of the three month-old Prince Wednesday Oct. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/John Stillwell/Pool)

Britain's Prince George is held by his father Prince William as they arrive at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace in London, for the christening of the three month-old Prince Wednesday Oct. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/John Stillwell/Pool)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, right, speaks with Prince William and Kate Duchess of Cambridge as they arrive with their son Prince George at the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, Wednesday Oct. 23, 2013. Britain's 3-month-old future monarch, Prince George will be christened Wednesday with water from the River Jordan at a rare four-generation gathering of the royal family in London. (AP Photo/John Stillwell/Pool)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, right, speaks with Prince William and Kate Duchess of Cambridge as they arrive with their son Prince George at the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, Wednesday Oct. 23, 2013. Britain's 3-month-old future monarch, Prince George will be christened Wednesday with water from the River Jordan at a rare four-generation gathering of the royal family in London. (AP Photo/John Stillwell/Pool)

Britain's Prince William, holds his son Prince George as they arrive at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace in London, for the christening of the three month-old Prince Wednesday Oct. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/John Stillwell/Pool)

Britain's Prince William, Kate Duchess of Cambridge with their son Prince George arrive at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace in London, for the christening of the three month-old Prince George, Wednesday Oct. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/John Stillwell/Pool)

Royal fans wait outside St James's Palace, in the hope of catching a glimpse of members of the British royal family who will be attending the christening of Prince George in London, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Prince William and his wife Kate have asked seven people to be godparents to their son, Prince George, who will be christened at a major royal family gathering Wednesday, palace officials said. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Police officers monitor the small crowd of media and royal fans outside St James's Palace, as a member of the Grenadier Guards marches past in London, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Prince William and his wife Kate have asked seven people to be godparents to their son, Prince George, who will be christened at a major royal family gathering Wednesday, palace officials said. Queen Elizabeth II and her husband Prince Philip plan to attend the christening Wednesday at the Chapel Royal at St. James's Palace, along with Prince Charles, his wife Camilla, Prince Harry and other royals. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

In this Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2013 photo, radiographer Diana Taubman points to a file X-ray, made in the past at a patient in Ireland that was diagnosed with tuberculosis, at a van in London. The white dots are pellets from a shotgun injury. Last year, London had about 3,500 TB cases - more than the Netherlands, Belgium, Greece and Norway combined. In response, health officials are taking to the streets in an effort to stop the spread of the infectious lung disease, with a high-tech white van equipped with an X-ray machine that drives around London offering free check-ups. London’s 460,000 British pounds (some $743,329 ) TB van has an X-ray machine whose scans can be instantly read by a radiographer. The entire process of getting an X-ray and its results takes about 90 seconds. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

CAPTION ADDS THE DATE The car carrying Britain's Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and their son Prince George, is escorted by police as it drives from Kensington Palace, London, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013, on the way to St. James Palace for the christening of Prince George. Britain's 3-month-old future monarch, Prince George will be christened Wednesday with water from the River Jordan at a rare four-generation gathering of the royal family in London. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Britain's Prince William, left, and his wife Kate the Duchess of Cambridge, right, arrive for the Christening of their son Prince George at St James's Palace in London, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Tourists are reflected in the brass of a member of the Life Guards band as they escort a Colour party of the Grenadier Guards as they leave St James's Palace to change the guard at Buckingham Palace in London, Wednesday, Oct. 23,2013. Prince William and his wife Kate have asked seven people to be godparents to their son, Prince George, who will be christened at a major royal family gathering Wednesday, palace officials said. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Royal wellwishers gather and display their home made placards and greetings to the media, as they wait outside St James's Palace, for the christening of Britain's Prince George, in London, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Prince William and his wife Kate have asked seven people to be godparents to their son, Prince George, who will be christened at a major royal family gathering Wednesday, palace officials said. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Royal fan Terry Hut, center, waits to be interviewed by a TV station outside St James's Palace in London, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Britain's Prince George, son of Prince William and Kate Duchess of Cambridge and who is third in line to the throne will be christened in the Chapel Royal inside the palace Wednesday. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Britain's Prince George is held by his father Prince William as they arrive at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace in London, for the christening of the three month-old Prince Wednesday Oct. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/John Stillwell/Pool)

The car carrying Britain's Prince William, the Duchess of Cambridge and their son Prince George, is escorted by police as it drives from Kensington Palace on the way to St. James Palace for the christening of Prince George. Britain's 3-month-old future monarch, Prince George will be christened Wednesday with water from the River Jordan at a rare four-generation gathering of the royal family in London. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

Tourists are reflected in the brass of a member of the Life Guards band as they escort a Colour party of the Grenadier Guards as they leave St James's Palace to change the guard at Buckingham Palace in London, Wednesday, Oct. 23,2013. Prince William and his wife Kate have asked seven people to be godparents to their son, Prince George, who will be christened at a major royal family gathering Wednesday, palace officials said. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Royal wellwishers gather and display their home made placards and greetings to the media, as they wait outside St James's Palace, for the christening of Britain's Prince George, in London, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Prince William and his wife Kate have asked seven people to be godparents to their son, Prince George, who will be christened at a major royal family gathering Wednesday, palace officials said. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

A royal fan holding a christening celebration balloon watches as members of the Grenadier Guards mount guard outside St James's Palace in London, Wednesday, Oct. 23, 2013. Britain's Prince George, son of Prince William and Kate Duchess of Cambridge and who is third in line to the throne will be christened in the Chapel Royal inside the palace Wednesday. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)

Britain's Prince William, Kate Duchess of Cambridge with their son Prince George arrive at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace in London, for the christening of the three month-old Prince George, Wednesday Oct. 23, 2013. (AP Photo/John Stillwell/Pool)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II, right, speaks with Prince William and Kate Duchess of Cambridge as they arrive with their son Prince George at the Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, Wednesday Oct. 23, 2013. Britain's 3-month-old future monarch, Prince George will be christened Wednesday with water from the River Jordan at a rare four-generation gathering of the royal family in London. (AP Photo/John Stillwell/Pool)

By GREGORY KATZ

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LONDON — Dressed in a lace and satin gown designed in the 1840s, Britain’s 3-month-old future monarch, Prince George, was christened Wednesday with water from the River Jordan at a rare gathering of four generations of the royal family.

The occasion had historic overtones: the presence of Britain’s 87-year-old monarch and three future kings, Princes Charles, William and, of course, little George.

Queen Elizabeth II, usually the center of attention, quietly ceded the spotlight to her rosy-cheeked great-grandson, who seemed to wave at her when he arrived — an illusion created by his father, Prince William, playfully moving the infant’s arm.

The private affair at the Chapel Royal at St. James’s Palace was also attended by Prince Charles, next in line to the throne, and the queen’s 92-year-old husband, Prince Philip, who has shown remarkable stamina since returning to the public eye after a two-month convalescence following serious abdominal surgery.

All told, it was an exceptional day for a monarchy that seems to be basking in public affection since the 2011 wedding of William and Kate Middleton and the maturing of Prince Harry, who appears to have put his playboy days behind him.

George, who was born on July 22, wore a replica of an intricate christening gown made for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter and first used in 1841.

When William was christened in 1982, he wore the original gown — by then well over a century old — but the garment has become so fragile that a replica was made.

The infant, who will head the Church of England when he becomes king, was christened with water from the River Jordan by Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby.

He arrived at the chapel in his father’s arms with his mother by their side.

Kate, smiling broadly on her way into the chapel, wore a cream-colored Alexander McQueen dress and hat by milliner Jane Taylor, with her long hair brushed to the side. William wore his customary dark suit and tie as he proudly carried their first child.

Kate’s parents, Michael and Carole Middleton, and her sister, Pippa, and brother, James, were also at the ceremony.

Pippa Middleton read from the Gospel of St. Luke and Prince Harry read from the Gospel of St. John. The two hymns were “Breathe on Me, Breath of God” and “Be Thou My Vision.”

The chapel has a strong connection to William’s mother, the late Princess Diana, whose coffin was laid before the chapel’s altar for her family to pay their last respects in private before her 1997 funeral.

Baby George has seven godparents, among them William’s cousin, Zara Phillips, daughter of Princess Anne and a close friend of the couple.

They also include Oliver Baker, a friend from William and Kate’s days at St. Andrews University; Emilia Jardine-Paterson, who went to the exclusive Marlborough College high school with Kate; Hugh Grosvenor, the son of the Duke of Westminster; Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, a former private secretary to the couple; Julia Samuel, a close friend of Princess Diana, and William van Cutsem, a childhood friend of William’s.

Palace officials said water from the River Jordan — where Christians believe Jesus Christ was baptized — was used for the christening.

In the West Bank, hours before the christening, busloads of Russian tourists descended on Qasr el-Yahud to immerse themselves in the river. The site, five miles (eight kilometers) east of Jericho, is considered Christianity’s third-holiest site after Bethlehem and Jerusalem.

The river’s waters have often been used to make the sign of the cross on the heads of royal infants.

Some royal watchers camped outside the palace for more than 24 hours to obtain a good vantage point to watch the guests arrive, but the ceremony was private.

William and Kate hired photographer Jason Bell to take official pictures, which are expected to include a historic multigenerational photograph of the queen with the three future kings.


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