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Sigrid Daniel

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A Real Regal Christening: How Godparents Make a Child's Village

Posted: 23/10/2013 11:09

The choosing of a child's godparents is a daunting task. You're often deciding between family loyalty, reciprocal obligations and close friends whom you hope will have an even closer connection to your child.

And of course, if you are following the more traditional route of christening - rather than a naming ceremony - religion can play a huge part. Some friends I know will only select those with whom they share a faith or belief, but others will choose a friend of an entirely different religion as a sign of their hopes that their newborn might learn not only spirituality but also tolerance.

So as we wait for Kate and Wills to announce George's godparents, we know that they are busy creating his village. And they will probably do so in their traditional way of being un-traditional. They've already broken a few royal rules, including using Kate's Dad as their family photographer, Wills driving them home from the hospital, taking paternity leave and not returning to active service. The latter means that we might see a more hands-on Royal Dad, as he can be home (or abroad) with Kate and George more. And now they're leaving family off the Christening guest list. They are sounding more like a real family!

But what's intriguing about them as this generation's royal couple is that - to outside observers - they're so genuine. They want to be with each other and with their new baby. They're just as interested in raising a well-rounded child as they are the next prince. And while they're very hands-on, they know they need the support they have.

Take the hiring of the housekeeper and nanny. Since I'm from a care-finding service, I've been on the edge of my seat wondering who they'd select. But Kate waited. As she's famous for. She chose a housekeeper first, probably believing she could juggle all her responsibilities with the baby in a carrier (we've all been there, Kate!). Once realising she couldn't possibly juggle it all, they've hired Will's former nanny, someone with an existing bond to their new family, to be their parenting partner. This isn't the employee-feel, nanny in uniform and white gloves, obsessively checking on little one's bowel habits, as in royal generations past.

If reports are true, William and Kate are going down the route of loyal friends as godparents, not picking useful connections or older family influencers. This couple is surely not by-the-royal-book. And the next generation of mums is watching. A village of only nuclear family members is not the only way to raise a child. We now have nannies, housekeepers, and close friends playing pseudo parent roles. Even godparent roles. And it's beautiful. For my own children, we chose a smattering of family and friends as their godparents. I can honestly say they have been some of the most important and loyal of friends to them. They don't just give gifts at the required times - but they have also offered life enhancing experiences - being loved, spoilt, offered delightful opportunities like a bridesmaid slot or a guest role as mascot for a favourite football team on match day.

We know Prince George will live a blessed life full of perks and pleasures. But I find it even more pleasurable if these perks are spent with a mix of non-royals as godparents. Having those who have no crown jewels in their lineage will give George a deeper understanding of real people. And this set of regals is the best family to blaze this friendship trail.

 

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