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Chelmsford: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge praised as model parents after Kate acted as Godmother during Christening at an Essex church

15:10 19 February 2014

Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)

Prince William and Kate, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Adrian Wyld)

Archant

A clergyman at a church near Chelmsford played host to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Sunday, and described them as model parents.

Reverend Ken Dunstan, of St Barnabas in Mayland, Chelmsford, presided over a christening service at which Kate Middleton was one of four godparents.

Kate, 32, became mum to Prince George last July, and promised to guide her friend’s son in his spiritual life at the picturesque church in Mayland.

Ordinary parishioners were stunned to see Prince William, Kate and baby George attending the service.

The Cambridges’ attendance at the christening had been kept a closely-guarded secret, with church staff only being told on the day itself.

Mr Dunstan said the organist had only been informed 10 minutes before the service began.

Mr Dunstan told the Daily Mirror: “I think my usual congregation were surprised at who was joining us.

“My main concern was that I got the tone right for the family and for the baptism.

“I don’t normally pay a huge amount of attention to godparents as long as the godparents are there and willing to make the appropriate promises.”

He added: “She was there as a godparent not as a princess.”

Prince George was well behaved throughout the service, said Mr Dunstan.

“The couple said they wanted four godparents but weren’t quite sure whether one would be available,” he said.

“Then later the father rang me to say the other godmother is available, it’s a friend from uni. Then he told me who it was. I got the impression that a number of the congregation had been to the same university.”

Prince George was christened by the Archbishop of Canterbury in a private service at the Chapel Royal in St James’ Palace attended only by his immediate family and seven godparents.

Sunday’s service was open to the usual St Barnabas congregation who joined in with hymns including Morning Has Broken, O Let the Sun of God Enfold You and In Water We Grow.

The reverend changed the readings of the day, set by the Church of England, to make them more appropriate for a christening.

He said: “They were about cutting out your arm to cause you to sin and gaugeing out your eye to cause you to sin...I decided that wasn’t quite what we wanted.”

Instead he read from the Sermon on the Mount where Jesus describes his followers as the salt of the earth.

Security officers were spotting checking out the church’s surroundings before the royals appeared.

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