Prince George's godparents named, including Zara Phillips, Oliver Baker, Julia Samuel

7:24 AM, Oct 23, 2013   |    comments
Queen's granddaughter Zara Phillips and husband, rugby player Mike Tindall, at Sandringham, in December 2012. She will be godparent to Prince George.(Photo: Matt Dunham AP)
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(USA TODAY) -- Prince George's godparents will include old family friends, a cousin, college pals and loyal staff, but not Prince Harry or Pippa Middleton, Kensington Palace announced today.

The three-month-old royal baby is to be christened later today as Prince George Alexander Louis of Cambridge in a private ceremony for close family and friends in the Chapel Royal of St. James's Palace.

Although speculation about the godparents and the guest list - expected to be around 50 - has been rife for weeks, the palace released the list just after 9 am London time, six hours before the ceremony, which will take place in the gilded environs of the intimate Chapel Royal, built starting in 1540 by Henry VIII.

The royal guests will total only five: Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Harry, Also there will be Duchess Kate's parents Carole and Michael Middleton, and siblings Pippa and James Middleton.

The godparents chosen by Prince William and Duchess Kate for their first-born son breaks with royal tradition because they include non-royal friends rather than foreign royals, as with, for example, the baby's grandfather, Prince Charles, and his great-grandmother, the queen.

The venue for the baptism into the Church of England also broke with tradition: It was last used for a royal christening, that of William's cousin Princess Beatrice, in 1988. William, Charles and the queen, for example, were christened in the Music Room of Buckingham Palace.

The godparents are:

Oliver Baker, who attended the University of St Andrews with Will and Kate.

Emilia d'Erlanger, Mrs. David Jardine-Paterson, who attended Marlborough College (high school) with Kate and also is an old friend to William who introduced them.

Hugh, Earl Grosvenor, the son of the Duke of Westminster.

Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, who served as private secretary to William, Kate and Harry from 2005-2012 and continues to serve part-time as principal private secretary and equerry, and whose son was in the royal wedding.

Julia Samuel, the Hon. Mrs Michael Samuel, who was a close friend of William's late mother, Princess Diana.

Zara Phillips, Mrs Michael Tindall, William's cousin, granddaughter to the queen, daughter of Princess Anne the Princess Royal, who married rugby star Mike Tindall in 2011 and is pregnant with her first child.

William van Cutsem, also known as Hugh, a childhood friend of Will's, son of Hugh van Cutsem, one of Prince Charles' oldest friends who died a few weeks ago. Will is godfather to van Cutsem's daughter Grace, who was in the wedding.

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