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he decision to hold the christening of Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana in the same church as that of the grandmother she will never know was a loving tribute from the Duke of Cambridge. On 30 August 1961 Diana Spencer, the future Princess of Wales, was christened at St Mary Magdalene Church on the Sandringham Estate; on Sunday 5 July two-month-old Charlotte will be christened there too.

   Of course William and Kate are living at Anmer Hall, less than three miles away, but it is a charming thought. As befits the occasion Charlotte, like her brother, will be baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury using consecrated water from the River Jordan.

   The 16th-century church was last used for such a royal purpose on 23 December 1990 when Princess Eugenie, younger daughter of the Duke and Duchess of York, was baptised during the regular Sunday service attended by villagers and estate workers. Eugenie was nine months old by then, so the Honiton christening gown – created for younger babies – had to be left unbuttoned at the back.

   After his deployment Down Under with the Australian Defence Force, Prince Harry undertook a triumphant tour of New Zealand before saying goodbye to his 10-year army career. In a candid interview he admitted he was enjoying being without the emotional involvement of a steady girlfriend and could concentrate on things he wanted to do.

   Harry is now so popular he is apparently one of the reasons tourists want to visit Great Britain. His grandmother the Queen is clearly proud of him, because she recently made him a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO) and presented him with the insignia privately at Buckingham Palace.

   A royal source said the Prince was ‘proud and pleased’ to receive the honour, which is in the personal gift of the sovereign, adding: ‘It is very significant for him personally.’

   The Prince of Wales’s hugely successful visit to Ireland, where he gave some emotional and carefully-crafted speeches, reminds us what a wordsmith he is. It is a sadness that batches of his letters to government ministers had to be published, but they are interesting to read and obviously come from an intellectual who cares a great deal about so many facets of national life.

   Most of us can no longer be bothered, but Prince Charles has written many lengthy and effusive letters to friends, even about the most mundane of things such as the health of their Gloucestershire Old Spot pigs. He does much of his writing late at night and I sincerely hope the publication of his private correspondence won’t stop him. A change in legislation means they should no longer enter the public domain.

   I fear the future King is the last of the great royal letter-writers. Technology has all but overtaken the art for younger generations and the royal archives will be sadly lacking in letters from the 21st century.


 
 
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