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Princess Charlotte to be Christened today

Prince George kisses his baby sister Credit: PA

Princess Charlotte will be christened today using a priceless font which is usually kept with the Crown Jewels.

It will be the second public outing for the daughter of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge since she was born on May 2.

The royal ceremony will take place at St Mary Magdalene Church in Norfolk, near Sandringham from 4.30pm.

They'll be joined by the Duchess's parents Michael and Carole Middleton, who live at Bucklebury Manor in Berkshire, where Kate was brought up.

The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby will perform the 45-minute service using an ornate Lily Font commissioned by Queen Victoria.

Inside the church where the royal christening will take place Credit: PA

Crafted out of solid gilded sterling silver, the font was made in 1840 to prevent the then Queen's children being tarnished by association with the illegitimate children of one of her predecessors.

Martin Swift, the Crown Jeweller, said: "Charles II insisted on having all his children baptised using the Charles II font, but all his children were born out of wedlock, which is why when he passed his brother James became king.

"Queen Victoria didn't like that association, so ordered the commissioning of the Lily Font."

The Lily Font and silver Ewer which will be used at the christening Credit: PA

Alongside the Lily Font at Princess Charlotte's baptism will be a christening ewer, made of solid silver and similarly gilded.

Following Royal tradition, the water used for the christening will be holy water from the River Jordan, where it is said Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist.

The service will be private but the royals will come out to greet the crowds afterwards.

A paddock close to the church will be opened to house royal well-wishers eager to get a glimpse of the young princess.


Force preparing to police next week's Royal Ascot

Thames Valley Police are preparing their operation for policing Royal Ascot which begins next week Tuesday.

The force says a "significant security operation" will be in place during the five-day event which will be attended by the Queen and other members of the royal family.

"Thames Valley Police has been involved in policing Royal Ascot for many years. Every year is different but the challenge remains the same for us to support those attending as well as those living near to Ascot Racecourse.

"The event attracts a global audience and thousands of prestigious visitors but our planning and approach is no different to any other large scale public operation.

"A great many officers and staff have been working on the plans in partnership with Ascot Racecourse Limited, the Royal Borough of Windsor and Maidenhead and neighbouring police forces. We anticipate the focus remaining firmly on the track but will remain ready to respond if required."

– Supt Jim Weems, Thames Valley Police

Royal seal of approval for Eton College's new complex

The Prince of Wales talks to students at Eton College

The Prince of Wales has been visiting the Thames Valley today. Prince Charles was at Eton College in Windsor to open the new Bekynton Field development.

As the father of two former pupils - both Prince William and Prince Harry were educated at the private school - it was perhaps even more fitting that the heir to the throne was invited to perform the honour.

The £18 million pound project is the school's largest development since its foundation in 1440. Divya Kohli reports.

The interviewees are Tony Little, the Headmaster; and Michael Johnson from The Copper Works Newlyn.

Prince Charles to open new building at Eton College

Prince Charles has arrived at Eton College to officially open the institution's new Bekynton Field Development. The development includes forty new classrooms and common rooms.


Part 3: Remembering Britannia - "To the Queen & absent friends"

The Royal Yacht Britannia was taken out of service almost 20 years ago

The eleventh of December 1997 is a day that everyone who has ever served on the Royal Yacht Britannia remembers.

It was the day Britannia was decommissioned at an emotional ceremony attended by Her Majesty The Queen and most of the other members of the Royal family.

For the crew it meant the end of a unique way of life. Richard Jones has the last of our special reports from their annual reunion.

The other two parts of our special series about the Royal Yacht Britannia:

Part 1: Back to work for former crew of Royal Yacht Britannia

Part 2: Life below decks on the Royal Yacht Britannia

Part 2: Life below decks on the Royal Yacht Britannia

Back in the kitchen - former crew return to Royal Yacht Britannia

The second in a series about the annual return of former crew members of the Royal Yacht Britannia who go back to work on board her for a week each year.

The former crew members follow the routines they once had - eating the food they used to, and returning to the messes where they once socialised with their crewmates.

The yacht served the royal family for more than forty years and travelled more than a million miles around the globe. Her maiden voyage was from Portsmouth to Malta. Many of her crew over the years have come from Hampshire. They organise an annual gathering in Portsmouth.

Britannia is now moored in Edinburgh. Here is Richard Jones with part two of his special series of reports.

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