UK & World News
Prince George Christening: Archbishop's Message
The Archbishop of Canterbury has spoken for the first time about the christening of Prince George and the moment he will mark the future king's forehead with the sign of the cross.
In a message released by Lambeth Palace, the Most Reverend Justin Welby spoke of the "great times" the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will have as parents in the years to come.
The 45-minute christening will take place on Wednesday at 3pm at the Chapel Royal within St James's Palace.
The ceremony will be conducted by the Archbishop in what he called a celebration of "the next hugely important moment" in Prince George's life.
He said: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have had so much advice they could probably fill a house with it.
"My message to them would be 'what a treat, what an amazing gift, what wonderful times you will have'.
"A few months ago millions of people around the world celebrated the birth of Prince George.
"Now we're celebrating the next hugely important moment, which is his christening."
The Chapel Royal has been the setting for historic royal occasions ever since the reign of Henry VIII, such as the marriage of Queen Victoria in 1840.
Beneath the ornate Hans Holbein ceiling, the third-in-line to the throne and future supreme governor of the Church of England will be christened George Alexander Louis.
The Eton-educated Archbishop said: "I will mark Prince George with the sign of the cross on his forehead and that's exactly what every priest always does every single baptism.
"It's an extraordinary moment because that is the sign by which we understand this person belongs to God.
"There'll be great times, there'll be tough times - there always are with children.
"Through christening you are bringing God into the middle of it all and I know that when he's in the middle of it all, somehow, it's held in his hands, and that's extraordinary."
Mr Welby also talked about how Prince George's baptism means he joins almost 2,000 million people around the world in what he calls the "family of the Church".
But Prince George is entering a family that is dwindling in number.
Both Anglican and Catholic Churches have seen a steady decline in the numbers choosing to christen their children in recent decades.
Reverend Sally Hitchiner, who has worked alongside Mr Welby in the past, told Sky News: "I don't think it's an entirely bad thing.
"My experiences as a priest are that people I meet coming forward to have their child christened tend to be more sincere.
"There tends to be a genuine interest in faith and I always think that being honest in front of your newborn child is a good thing."
She believes William, Kate and of course Prince George, are in safe hands.
She said of the Archbishop: "He's actually quite normal.
"He makes a joke when things are funny and he's not afraid to smile if something goes wrong.
"I would imagine his welcome would be very warm and very personal."
:: For coverage of Prince George's christening on Wednesday October 23 watch on Sky 501, Virgin Media 602, Freesat 202, Freeview 82, Skynews.com and Sky News for iPad.