In April I visited Sandringham, the private country home of the royal family, and was especially keen to have a look at the local parish church, where Princess Charlotte was christened yesterday. News media reported that royal well-wishers were invited to stand in the “paddock” where folks stand every Christmas to watch the royals go in and out of church. What’s a paddock? It’s just a field where horses normally stand around and eat grass. Yes, the old stone parish church is in an unassuming location with fields all around, just a short walk from the grand house. From the outside, the Church of St. Mary Magdalene looks exactly like countless other English country churches. Inside, it is the most beautiful country church I’ve ever seen–not surprising, what with the royal connection.
An angel holding a baby stands, appropriately, just above the entrance.
More angels minister to people inside, like this carved wooden one offering communion to a parishioner.
The church seems an especially joyful place of worship. Sunlight streams in through stained glass.
The painted ceiling is especially beautiful and colorful. I think the church in its present form dates mostly from Victorian times.
No one seems to be buried in the church, but the walls contain exquisite memorials to various royals. My favorite is the one of a pair of angels tenderly supporting a silhouette of Queen Victoria. I’m sure she was present in spirit to watch over the newest generation of her descendants. Did they behave themselves? That’s always the big question, as Victoria knew well from the trials of raising her own very large family.
News media have breathlessly reported on supposed sibling rivalry at the christening: Pippa Middelton is accused of trying to upstage her sister Duchess Kate by wearing essentially the same outfit, and possibly wearing it better. I reserve judgment. If there are any soap-opera goings-on among the current young royals, I prefer not to know about them. Anyway, good luck upstaging Kate. This is the woman who left the hospital and waved to crowds the very day she gave birth in April, wearing a pretty dress, perfect hair and HIGH HEELS. I would not care to try competing with Duchess Kate. The images of the sisters are from the Daily Mail article cited below.
Not having been one of the 25 or so people invited to the christening, I’m not sure there was a sermon or homily. But if there was, it was delivered from this beautiful silver Victorian pulpit. Best wishes to the new Princess!
Previous posts about Sandringham are at https://castlesandcoffeehouses.com/2015/05/07/sandringham/