Baptismal font, basin and gowns
For christenings in the Royal House, the royal baptismal font and the associated baptismal set - with basin, pitcher and candlesticks - are used. The valuable relics have been used in the christenings of all the royal children since the christening of the later Frederik IV in 1671 and, most recently, the christening of the Crown Prince Couple’s twins in 2011.
The baptismal font was produced in Germany around 1660 and is made of partially-gilded silver. On the base of the font are motifs depicting John the Baptist, who baptised Jesus, and above are God the Father and the Holy Spirit in the form of a dove.
The baptismal set consists of a gold baptismal basin together with a pitcher and candlesticks, produced by Hinrich Lambrecht in Hamburg around 1650. The motifs on the baptismal set are The Four Seasons and are thus not religious, which means that the set earlier had another function, possibly as a wash basin among toilet accessories.
When the absolute monarchy was instituted in 1660 by Frederik III, the monarchy became hereditary; the king was no longer elected but, instead, inherited the throne directly from his father. Use of the royal baptismal font was initiated to christen heirs to the throne. To indicate this, it was decided to engrave the names of the father and the son along with the date of the christening, which took place the same day as the birth. On the bottom of the baptismal basin, one can today see engravings for 22 christenings between 1671 and 1749. An extra gold plate attached to the basin records seven subsequent christenings between 1750 and 1795. Due to lack of space the tradition ended.
On the day of a christening, the royal baptismal font and set are moved from Rosenborg Castle, where they are kept, to the church where the christening takes place. Royal christenings are not tied to a particular church. Thus, Prince Nicholai was christened in Fredensborg Palace church and Prince Felix and Prince Henrik in Møgeltønder Church, while Prince Christian was christened in Christiansborg Palace church, Princess Isabella in Fredensborg Palace Church, and Prince Vincent and Princess Josephine in Holmens Church.
The Royal House’s christening gown has been in use since 1870. It was originally made for the later Christian X’s christening from Brussels lace, which his mother, queen Lovisa, had bought in Belgium. Several royal children have since worn the gown and the accompanying christening cap, among others the sisters of Christian X, princesses Thyra and Dagmar, the later Frederik IX, the princesses Margrethe, Benedikte and Anne-Marie, Crown Prince Frederik and Prince Joachim, princes Christian and Vincent as well as Princess Isabella. For the christening of the Crown Prince Couple’s twins in 2011, Princess Josephine was dressed in a gown from Queen Ingrid’s belongings. It was made around 1940 but was never worn previously. The princes Nikolai and Felix wore a gown designed by H. H. Design. Prince Henrik also wore a gown designed by H.H. Design.