Expect awkward family discussions as Princess Anne and Countess of Wessex among senior royals NOT attending the christening of Prince George

While the palace has not released the official guest list yet, there could be some bitter disagreements over who gets the nod in a much-limited royal contingent

For those who choose to have them, christenings are big events in the yearly schedule of any family. Perhaps have some sympathy, then, for whoever has the unenviable task of picking the guest list when the baby to be dunked is Prince George himself.

Reports have emerged which suggest that even senior royals such as Princess Anne and the Countess of Wessex will not be able to make it – and while a clash with other engagements has been blamed, there is no question that the competition to make it into the royal contingent will be intense.

Spokesmen and royal sources have refused to give away anything beyond than the fact that it is going to be a “small, intimate affair”, held at the Chapel Royal in St James’s Palace on 23 October. The “official guest list” could be made public in advance of the event itself, but that remains to be seen.

With Buckingham Palace a regular setting for royal christenings, the choice of venue is said to have been down to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge themselves – and represents their desire for a less traditional, lower-key family life than might be open to them.

Space being at a premium, the event’s organisers will no doubt be delighted that the Princess Royal will be on an official visit to Canada at the time, and the Countess of Wessex is “engaged” in the West Country.

Beyond the obvious core members of the royal family – the Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and so on – it is anyone’s guess who else will not suddenly find they are busy elsewhere.

As a palace source told the Times: “It may become clear once the other members of the Royal Family’s engagements emerge who else has engagements on that day.”

Christenings at the Chapel Royal are not unheard of, and it holds a particular poignancy for Prince William and his family. It is where the body of Princess Diana was laid out before the altar before her funeral at Westminster Abbey.

The chapel was built in around 1540, and saw the marriages of both Queen Victoria and George V. It seats a maximum of 100, though far fewer are reportedly expected to attend.

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