A baptism is all about renouncing the devil, washing away the stain of original sin, and entrusting your child’s soul to God. But here’s betting that for Kate and William today’s ceremony is less about religion and more an opportunity for a happy party, surrounded by the people they most care about, to celebrate the arrival of their son. And if it is, what’s wrong with that?
The tradition of having your baby baptised is in decline in Britain: christenings in the Church of England are down by around a half on what they were in 1980, and there’s a similar story in the Catholic church. Justin Welby, the archbishop of Canterbury who’s presiding at the font in St James’s Palace today, says it would be wonderful if the baptism of Prince George led other parents to think about getting their baby christened. And he’s right ”“ not because the church needs bums on its pews, but because baptism is an age-old rite of passage that provides one of those all-important moments in family life when we pause, take stock, and think about both where we’ve come from and where we’re going, and how important it is to support one another along the way.