Old pals' act: William and Kate choose George's godparents based on loyalty rather than status

  • Duke and Duchess of Cambridge plan to break with tradition
  • Reportedly choosing university and school friends for the role
  • Want them to give Prince George a sense of normality as he grows up
  • Financier Fergus Boyd, Kate's schoolfriend Emilia d'Erlanger and Prince William's childhood friend Hugh van Cutsem all named as contenders

By Louise Eccles

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will reportedly shun tradition and choose close university and school friends to be Prince George's godparents, rather than members of the royal family.

The couple are planning to ask relatively unknown friends, instead of royalty and aristocrats, in order to give their son a sense of normality as he grows up.

Financier Fergus Boyd, who shared a house with Prince William and Kate at St Andrew's University, will be one of George's six godparents, it was claimed.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge plan to choose university and school friends as godparents to Prince George

Duke and Duchess of Cambridge plan to choose university and school friends as godparents to Prince George

Kate's school friend and interior designer Emilia d'Erlanger is also a contender, as is one of William's childhood friends, Hugh van Cutsem.

 

It is another sign that the pair is determined to raise their son in their own way.

They have already deviated from tradition by choosing to hold his christening at the intimate Chapel Royal in St James's Palace, rather than Buckingham Palace's music room.

Kate's schoolfriend Emilia d'Erlanger (left) are believed to be among the contenders for the role of godparent
Prince William's lose childhood friend Hugh Van Cutsem is believed to be among the contenders for the role of godfather

Prince William's close childhood friend Hugh Van Cutsem (right) and Kate's schoolfriend Emilia d'Erlanger (left) are believed to be among the contenders for the role of godparent

Fergus Boyd shared a flat at university with the Duke and Duchess

Fergus Boyd shared a flat at university with the Duke and Duchess

Mr Boyd knew William at Eton and shared the same hall of residence as the couple during their first year of university.

The trio shared a farmhouse together in their second year, and Mr Boyd, 31, witnessed William and Kate's friendship blossom into something more.

At a charity fashion show in 2002, as the duchess strutted down the catwalk in a sheer lace dress, William is said to have turned to Mr Boyd and said, 'Wow, Kate's hot'.

Also tipped to be godparent is Mrs d'Erlanger, who went to Marlborough College with Kate and was romantically linked to William when she joined him on a summer holiday cruise around the Greek Islands in 1999.

She introduced Kate to William's circles and remained close to both of them during their split in 2007.

Married to David Jardine-Paterson, a friend of William's from Eton, she is reportedly advising Kate on the renovation of their Kensington Palace apartment.

Meanwhile, Mr van Cutsem, 39, is one of William's oldest friends and his late father, also called Hugh, was close to Prince Charles.

William was an usher at his wedding in 2005 to Rose Astor and is also godfather to their daughter Grace, who was a flower girl at the royal wedding.

A royal source told The Sunday Times: 'They are rather unexpected off-the-wall choices for godparents - not the usual suspects of William's closest friends who we anticipated.

'The two of them [the Cambridges] have carefully chosen and agreed them together.'

The youthful contenders are a world away from the older godparents chosen for William by his own parents, several of whom had royal connections.

They included Constantine II, the former King of Greece, Princess Alexandra, the Queen's cousin, and Lady Susan Hussey, the Queen's lady-in-waiting, Lord Romsey, grandson of Lord Mountbatten, and explorer and writer Sir Laurens van der Post.

The couple have already broken with tradition by releasing this intimate picture by Kate's father as the first official portrait

The couple have already broken with tradition by releasing this intimate picture by Kate's father as the first official portrait of Prince George and will hold the christening at Chapel Royal in St James's Palace

The couple want to give Prince George a sense of normality as he grows up

The couple want to give Prince George a sense of normality as he grows up

The Duchess of Westminster, who was the youngest at 23, was said to be Diana's sole choice for godparent.

Bookmakers last night slashed the odds for Fergus Boyd to become a godparent from 8/1 to 1/2, making him the new favourite.

Following the reports, Ladbrokes said Mrs d'Erlanger was now second favourite at 4/6, while Mr van Cutsem was third favourite at 1/1.

Prince George's uncle and aunt, Prince Harry and Pippa Middleton, are also in the running at 4/1.

Other likely candidates include his best friend Thomas van Straubenzee, William's longest-serving adviser Jamie Lowther-Pinkerton, and William and Harry's former nanny, Tiggy Pettifer, nee Legge-Bourke.

Nightclub owner Guy Pelly, a close friend of William's, has already ruled out a role at the christening, after it was reported he had been asked to be a godparent.

He said: 'People have been coming up to me and shaking my hand offering their congratulations. They have got it all wrong. I spoke to William about it and he confirmed I am not going to be one.'

It comes after the Mail revealed that some senior members of the Royal Family have not been invited to Prince George's christening on October 23 because his parents want it to be an 'intimate, family affair'.

Prince William's aunts, Princess Anne and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, are believed to be among those left off the guest list.

IS PRINCE GEORGE'S KENSINGTON PALACE NURSERY HAUNTED?

They recently moved into their new home at Kensington Palace following a £1.5million overhaul. 

But one Royal expert says there are spooky goings-on at family home that no amount of redecoration can remove. 

Royal biographer Andrew Morton says Prince George's nursery in Apartment 1A of Kensington Palace is 'notorious' for its ghostly sightings. 

He said apparitions of the prince's namesake, King George II, as well as Caroline of Brunswick and Princess Sophia, have all been seen. 

Mr Morton even said that Princess Margaret's housekeeper once reported seeing a woman in Regency dress before it disappeared into a wall. 

Mr Morton told The Sun: 'Let's hope little Prince George can sleep peacefully in his cot at night.'

The comments below have been moderated in advance.

Actively C of E?

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Certain members of the royal family will not be in attendance because they've had various engagements scheduled for months. Stop trying to suggest a freeze-out or feud.

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What about P I P P A!!!!!!

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Ordinary people!!! Went to Eaton and have rich parents and most of good life there at birth! As for the ghosts,I'd not put my child in there...

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This is the 21st century, and monarchy should be outdated and replaced with democracy.

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They are only fooling themselves.

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Watch where you drive.

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Nice one

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Every major decision they make seems to be one of deep consultation and consideration for the other's preferences and desires. This hints at a deep compatibility and solid marriage. He reinforces that she is his equal and gives a lot of deference. Royals should be exemplars of conduct and general behavior. These two provide decent archetypes for the present confused and lost generation of the un-Jung Young.

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If they are so keen on doing this 'their' own way then why don't they fund 'their' own lifestyle. I'm pro royal but cannot stand their attitude. They want the privileges but not the servitude

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