Prince George flashes chubby cheeks at christening

Prince George, outside St. James Palace for his christening on Wednesday.
Prince George, outside St. James Palace for his christening on Wednesday. Today

The first photos of baby Prince George dressed in his christening robe have emerged. 

The infant, expected to grow up to become king of England, flashed his chubby cheeks Wednesday outside St. James's Palace as the family arrived for the intimate ceremony in a location that's rich with significance to the British royals.

The service was noted as much for its short guest list as it was for satiating widespread interest in the prince, who hasn’t appeared in public since his parents showed him off outside a London hospital the day after his July 22 birth.

Only close relatives and friends of Prince William and Duchess Kate were invited. The small crowd was a break from larger ceremonies held at Buckingham Palace for his father and a long line of other royals.

Prince George, outside St. James Palace for his christening on Wednesday. Today

The historic Chapel Royal is where the baby’s beloved grandmother, Princess Diana, lay in wake before her burial in 1997.

Prince George was christened over a silver gilt font by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby, who splashed water on the baby's head three times and marked his forehead with the sign of the cross.

The baby wore a long, lacy christening gown that is a replica of one worn by his father at his own baptism. The original 19th-century gown was first worn by Queen Victoria’s daughter and then passed down through the generations. It was replaced after being deemed too fragile for continued use.

Earlier in the day, Kensington Palace released a list of seven godparents selected by Prince William and Duchess Kate for their son. The couple chose close friends from their college days, as well as a close friend of Princess Diana. Olympic equestrian Zara Tindall, one of Prince William's cousins, also made the cut. 

The other godparents were Oliver Baker, Emilia Jardine-Paterson, Earl Grosvenor, Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, Julia Samuel, and William van Cutsem.

Although the siblings of the duke and duchess, Pippa Middleton and Prince Harry, were not named godparents, each gave readings during the christening. Middleton read a lesson from St. Luke, chapter 18, while Prince Harry read from St. John, chapter 15, the palace said in a statement. The service also included two hymns and two anthems.

The christening ceremony marks a significant gathering for the monarchy. The occasion brought together four generations of royals for a family photograph that included Queen Elizabeth II and the two other heirs to the British throne, Prince William and Prince Charles. 

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge chose celebrity photographer Jason Bell to chronicle the event. Family portraits from the ceremony will be released to the public on Thursday.