We’ve Got the Inside Scoop on Princess Lilibet’s Christening

There was a gospel choir, food, and dancing—including a sweet dance between Archie and Lilibet.

Prince Harry, Meghan Markle
(Image credit: Getty)

It was a christening fit for, well, a Princess—which technically Princess Lilibet Diana has been since September 8, 2022, but has only been referred to as such since this past Wednesday, when her parents announced news of her christening the Friday prior, along with confirmation of her title.

Lilibet was christened, according to The Daily Mail, in front of about 20 to 30 guests at her Montecito home, which she shares with father Prince Harry, mother Meghan Markle, and big brother Prince Archie. Although no members of Harry’s family were present—despite being invited—Lilibet’s maternal grandmother, Doria Ragland, was there, along with godfather Tyler Perry. 

The March 3 event was in many ways reminiscent of her parents’ wedding in May 2018—a gospel choir performed “This Little Light of Mine” (which was sung at Harry and Meghan’s wedding) as well as “Oh Happy Day,” and many of the songs the attendees danced to at the soiree were straight from Harry and Meghan’s wedding playlist. (So, likely Wilson Pickett’s “Land of 1000 Dances,” which the couple revealed was their first dance song in their Netflix docuseries Harry & Meghan.)

In a touching moment, it seems that Archie saved a dance for his younger sister, who was christened by the Archbishop of Los Angeles, the Reverend John Taylor.

“Attendees were treated to an afternoon of food and dancing—with Archie enjoying a dance with his little sister!” an insider says.

Perry flew into Santa Barbara last week for the event, “and reportedly changed into a suit before catching up with them [Harry and Meghan]—suggesting the dress code was smart for guests in attendance,” The Daily Mail reports.

Meghan has long gushed about her affinity for her Montecito mansion, telling The Cut last year “We did everything we could to get this house. Because you walk in and go…Joy. And exhale. And calm. It’s healing. You feel free.” So, no surprise the couple opted to host the event there. 

And, while much has been made of the lack of royal attendance at the California christening, an insider tells The Mirror “To have the two most senior royals [King Charles and Prince William] and their wives fly to the States for Lilibet’s christening would have been a massive operation, both in terms of security and planning. Under the cardinal rule for royal travel, Charles and William cannot fly together, so it would have needed at least two flights to have them attend.”

The Mirror reports that Lilibet’s christening was “seemingly worlds away” from big brother Archie’s own christening in July 2019 at Windsor Castle, when he was just two months old. (Lilibet, for comparison’s sake, is nearly two, born in June 2021.) 

The outlet also reports that Perry arranged for the aforementioned gospel choir for his goddaughter. He revealed in Harry & Meghan that, after being asked to be her godfather, “I take a moment to take that in, and, I thought, ‘I’d be honored. I’d absolutely be honored.’ And I got off the phone, took it all in, then I called them back. I go ‘Ahhh, hold on a second, does this mean we got to go over there [to the U.K.] and do all of that in the church with them [the royal family] and figure all that out, because I don’t want to do that. Maybe we can do a little private ceremony here and let that be that.’”

It seems he got his wish!

Rachel Burchfield
Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor

Rachel Burchfield is a writer, editor, and podcaster whose primary interests are fashion and beauty, society and culture, and, most especially, the British Royal Family and other royal families around the world. She serves as Marie Claire’s Senior Celebrity and Royals Editor and has also contributed to publications like Allure, Cosmopolitan, Elle, Glamour, Harper’s Bazaar, InStyle, People, Vanity Fair, Vogue, and W, among others. Before taking on her current role with Marie Claire, Rachel served as its Weekend Editor and later Royals Editor. She is the cohost of Podcast Royal, a show that was named a top five royal podcast by The New York Times. A voracious reader and lover of books, Rachel also hosts I’d Rather Be Reading, which spotlights the best current nonfiction books hitting the market and interviews the authors of them. Rachel frequently appears as a media commentator, and she or her work has appeared on outlets like NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, CNN, and more.