Prince Harry has spent £8,000 on a first edition Winnie The Pooh as a gift for his nephew Louis’ christening today.
The 11-week-old, who is fifth in line to the throne, will be baptised by the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Reverend Justin Welby, in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace.
It will be a private ceremony with close friends and family invited only. Prince George, four, and three-year-old Princess Charlotte will be there for their younger brother’s big day.
Pictured: Prince Louis, photographed on April 24 leaving the hospital shortly after his arrival, will be christened in a private ceremony at St James’ Palace today
The flame-haired royal has splashed out £8,000 on a 1926 first edition version of the A.A. Milne book – of which 30,000 were printed in the first run, The Sun reports.
First edition: Uncle Prince Harry has splashed out on an £8,000 copy of Winnie The Pooh
He is understood to have made the purchase from rare book seller Peter Harrington in Kensington, London.
A friend told the newspaper: ‘One of Harry’s happiest childhood memories was being read a bedtime story by his mother.
‘She loved all the classics and Harry had the brilliant idea of starting a little library of first editions.’
It is thought the newlywed originally considered buying Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass, priced at £24,000 but decided Winnie the Pooh would be more suitable.
The same friend told The Sun Prince Harry was a big fan of books as a youngster, devouring anything A.A. Milne but his favourite was Robinson Crusoe.
Family values: Prince Harry, pictured with his wife Meghan at a reception at Malborough House in London last week, is understood to be building a collection of first edition books for his niece and nephews
It will be the first time the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and their three children have been seen together as a family of five.
Kensington Palace has yet to release the guest list, but royal christenings are usually a small, family affair.
Newlyweds the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are likely to put in an appearance, as are Kate’s pregnant sister Pippa Matthews, and her brother James Middleton.
Meghan was christened and confirmed in the Chapel Royal by the Archbishop, who also married the Suits star and Harry at Windsor in May.
William and Kate revealed their newborn third child Louis to the world outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital back in April following his birth
Prince George and Princess Charlotte were taken to meet their new brother by Prince William
How the families lined up at Princess Charlotte’s christening in 2015
Harry and Meghan are expected to attend today’s service but bookmakers don’t think the Duchess will be invited to be a godparent
MEGHAN AN OUTSIDE BET AS GODMOTHER
Bookmakers are predicting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will pick friends over family for Prince Louis’ godparents.
William’s trusted private secretary Miguel Head, who is leaving his post this month, is the front runner for one of the roles with odds of 5/4.
The duke’s former nanny Tiggy Legge-Bourke, now Tiggy Pettifer, is set at 2/1, while his step-sister – the daughter of the Duchess of Cornwall – Laura Lopes is at 3/1.
Ladbrokes suggested the Duchess of Sussex would not be among those asked to guide baby Louis in the Christian faith.
Former Suits star Meghan, who married into the royal family less than two months ago, is 14/1, while Kate’s sister Pippa Matthews is 10/1.
Louis’ godparents, who will be announced on the day, will take part in the private 40-minute traditional religious ceremony, which begins at 4pm in the intimate, oak-panelled chapel.
There is speculation the Cambridges, who usually opt for close friends and confidantes, may choose William’s trusted private secretary Miguel Head, who is leaving the post this month, to be a godfather.
They might even turn to one of William’s cousins, Peter Phillips, Princess Beatrice, Princess Eugenie or Lady Louise Mountbatten-Windsor – a move which would delight the Queen.
The baby prince – Louis Arthur Charles – was born in the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London, on April 23 – St George’s Day – weighing 8lb 7oz.
He will be welcomed into the Christian faith dressed in the same frilly, cream gown used for George and Charlotte.
The robe is a replica of the intricate lace and satin dress made for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter in 1841.
George was also christened in the Chapel Royal, but Charlotte was baptised at the Church of St Mary Magdalene in Sandringham.
After George’s christening in 2013, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall gave a private tea at nearby Clarence House, and guests were served slices of christening cake, taken from a tier of William and Kate’s wedding cake.
A ROYAL TRADITION: HOW LOUIS’S BAPTISM WILL FOLLOW RULES PASSED DOWN THE GENERATIONS
Prince Charles and Princess Diana with baby William for his christening in 1982
Royal christenings are steeped in tradition, with customs passed down through the generations.
When Prince Louis is baptised later today at the Chapel Royal, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expected to keep to convention.
Louis is expected to wear the royal christening robe – a replica of the original Honiton lace and satin robe made in 1841 for Queen Victoria’s eldest daughter.
The new robe was created by the Queen’s dresser Angela Kelly.
The original cream lace and white satin robe was last used in 2004 and is too delicate to be worn.
According to tradition, the water used for Louis’s christening will be holy water from the River Jordan, where it is said Jesus was baptised by John the Baptist.
Louis will also be expected to be christened using the ornate silver gilt Lily Font – part of the Crown Jewels.
King George VI and his wife Queen Elizabeth at the 1926 baptism of their daughter, the future Queen Elizabeth II
It is decorated with lilies and ivy foliage around the rim, features three cherubs around the base, and the main bowl is a large lily bloom.
The Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace, London, was used for Prince George’s christening in 2013.
Royal christenings are usually private affairs and most royal babies have been christened at royal palaces.
William and the Prince of Wales were both christened in Buckingham Palace’s Music Room.
The Queen, then Princess Elizabeth, was christened in the Palace’s private chapel in 1926.
Prince Harry, now the Duke of Sussex, was christened in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, where he was married in May.
Princess Charlotte, however, was christened at the Church of St Mary Magdalene at Sandringham in Norfolk.
She was pushed to her christening past well-wishers in a vintage 1950s silver-wheeled Millson pram – once used for the Queen’s youngest children Prince Andrew and Prince Edward.
WHAT WE KNOW OF 11-WEEK-OLD PRINCE LOUIS OF CAMBRIDGE
Prince Louis of Cambridge is 11 weeks old – here’s what we know about him so far:
1) His full name is HRH Prince Louis Arthur Charles of Cambridge.
2) He was born on patriotic St George’s Day – April 23 – at 11.01am at the private Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, London.
3) He weighed 8lb 7oz – but was not the heaviest royal baby in modern times.
The Queen’s first great-grandchild Savannah Phillips weighed 8lb 8oz in 2010, and the newest addition to the Windsors, Zara Tindall’s daughter Lena, born last month, weighed 9lb 3oz.
4) Louis, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s third child, is the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh’s sixth great-grandchild.
They now have seven after the arrival of Lena Tindall.
5) He slept well early on.
Two days after Louis was born, William revealed at an Anzac Day service that the baby and Kate were “in good form, luckily”.
“Sleeping’s going reasonably well so far, so he’s behaving himself, which is good,” he added.
6) But it’s three times as much worry for the duke.
Father of three William declared it was “thrice the worry now” when he left the hospital with the duchess to take newborn Louis back home to Kensington Palace.
7) The name took people by surprise.
William and Kate had already used Louis as one of Prince George’s middle names, but liked it so much they decided to use it again.
It has a poignant meaning for the Windsors. Louis was the name of the Prince of Wales’s beloved great-uncle Earl Mountbatten, who was murdered by the IRA in 1979.
8) Princess Charlotte is smitten with her little brother.
Kensington Palace released sweet images of Charlotte cuddling baby Louis to mark her third birthday.
Charlotte was pictured gently kissing the newborn on the top of his head.
9) He is unlikely to be king.
Louis is fifth in line to the throne, with the Prince of Wales, William, George and Charlotte ahead of him in the line of succession.