Christening of a royal baby: Public clamor for view of Princess Charlotte

Story highlights

  • Newest addition to UK throne, Princess Charlotte, will be christened on Sunday in Norfolk
  • Service will be private with close family and friends, but they will greet crowds afterwards

(CNN)On Sunday, a paddock in the English countryside -- more used to stampeding cows than people -- will open its gates to an influx of royal well-wishers hoping to catch a glimpse of the country's newest princess.

Charlotte -- the fourth in line to the UK throne -- is to be christened in the church opposite; St. Mary Magdalene in Sandringham, Norfolk. It will be a private service with close family and friends but afterwards they will come out to greet the crowds.
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    Kensington Palace said: "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge will be pleased to welcome well-wishers into the paddock outside the church. The Duke and Duchess are hugely grateful for the warm wishes they have received since Princess Charlotte's birth -- many of them from local people in Norfolk -- and are delighted the paddock can be opened on the day of the christening."
    Princess Charlotte was born at St Mary's Hospital in London in May, after which she made her one and only public outing.
    The local police force, Norfolk Constabulary, is expecting "a large number of well-wishers" who "could be queuing for some time." That could be underplaying it somewhat. History shows that thousands of people turn out for key royal moments, especially those involving the younger royals. For this event, there is an open invitation and with lots of notice so expect people to come from much further afield than the local villages.
    Royal superfans, famous for camping out the night before to guarantee their spot, will have to wait at the gates. Police are warning the paddock will only be opened an hour-and-a-half before the christening. Superintendent Kevin Clarke said: "With this being such a special occasion we are expecting the area to be extremely busy on Sunday and encourage the public to heed our advice so they can enjoy the event safely."
    This is all in stark contrast to Prince George's christening at a chapel in central London where there was no public access. Their father, Prince William, is constantly trying to balance his family's privacy and the public interest. William grew up hounded by the media and is very sensitive to that but also understands his future royal subjects want regular updates on him and his family.
    Media access to Charlotte's christening is restricted. No cameras inside the church so the public is likely to get as good a view as anyone. There will be official pictures taken at the after-party by Mario Testino. The celebrity photographer said: "I am overwhelmed and honored to be chosen to document this occasion and to carry on the documentation of the family that is the soul of this country, a country that has given me so much."