Wednesday, 27 Oct 2021

Why Lilibet Diana could lose her place in line of succession as UK christening cancelled

Lilibet Diana: Windsor christening 'unlikely' say experts

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Lilibet Diana Mountbatten-Windsor was born in the US on June 4, the second child of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. The family were expected to travel to the UK for Lilibet’s christening so the Queen could meet her great-granddaughter, but plans for a Church of England have reportedly now been scrapped.

Meghan and Harry were widely expected to christen their daughter in Windsor Castle, just as they did with their son, Archie Harrison.

However, a palace insider told the Telegraph this week: “There will not be a christening in the UK. It is not happening.”

Another source suggested it was “highly unlikely” the family would be back any time soon.

The decision has raised eyebrows, as Lilibet wouldn’t be considered a member of the Church of England until she came to Britain and joined a Church of England congregation.

Meghan, 40, underwent a private baptism officiated by the Archbishop of Canterbury to become a member of the Church of England before her wedding.

But it appears Lilibet won’t receive the same treatment, and it could affect her place in the line of succession.

Currently, little ‘Lili’ is eight in the line of succession to the British throne.

A member of the Royal family does not need to be baptised to remain in the line of succession – but there is one major exception.

If a member of the Royal Family is baptised as a Catholic, they cannot remain in the line of succession.

A number of the Queen’s cousin the Duke of Kent’s children and grandchildren have lost their place in the line of succession by following in their mother Katherine, the Duchess of Kent’s footsteps and converting to Catholicism.

However, sources have said it’s more likely that Lili will be Christened into the Episcopal Church of the US, which is a member church of the worldwide Anglican Communion.

This wouldn’t take her out of the line of succession as it’s not considered to be an “incompatible” religion with the Church of England.

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Bishop Michael Curry, who delivered the sermon at the couple’s wedding at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle on May 19, 2018, is the head of the Episcopal Church and could officiate.

A spokeswoman for the Sussexes said the plans for the christening were still being finalised and that claims to the contrary were “mere speculation”.

The news comes as a spokeswoman for the couple confirmed Meghan and Harry would not be flying back to the UK to attend an intimate party to honour Princess Diana at Kensington Palace.

Friends of the late Princess, including Sir Elton John, are said to be attending the event for 100 guests at Kensington Palace with the Duke of Cambridge.

The party, which was delayed due to Covid, is intended to thank donors who helped fund the statue of Diana unveiled in the summer on what would have been her 60th birthday.

The Queen now faces another wait to meet her new great-granddaughter who was born in California, where the Sussexes live in an £11 million mansion in Montecito.

Royal expert and author Penny Junor said: “It is a great shame they are not coming.

“The longer they stay away the greater the rift and the more difficult it is to come back from. They don’t come back and the rift continues.

“There is a lot of work to be done, it’s a shame they can’t come back. It shows they are not interested in making things work.”

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