Confirmation on Kate’s confirmation?

Even though I’m the mother of two young girls, I’m not worried about them getting caught up in the whole princess complex. My husband is some kind of anti-royalist so he keeps any princess talk in check. Last time the girls tried to dress up as princesses, my husband gave them a lecture on Constitutional governance.

Which means I may have trouble convincing him that we need to buy this refrigerator.

The media love a good princess story, though, and they’re all over the upcoming wedding of Prince William to Kate Middleton. There’s been a ton of coverage and I think I’ve seen most of the stories because I have friends who are, shall we say, obsessed about the impending nuptials. Most stories steered clear of religion but check this one out, from Reuters:

Kate Middleton confirmed ahead of royal wedding

As in, confirmed confirmed. She became a member of the Church of England. What was she prior to this? An unconfirmed Anglican? A non-Anglican? Was she already Christian? Well, let’s go to the story for the details:

“Catherine Middleton was confirmed by the Bishop of London at a private service at St James’s Palace attended by her family and Prince William,” the spokeswoman said.

“Miss Middleton, who was already baptised, decided to be confirmed as part of her marriage preparations.”

William himself was confirmed by Chartres in a ceremony at Windsor Castle in March 1997 when he was 14.

OK, so if she was already baptized as a Christian, I wonder, again, if she were an unconfirmed Anglican or what denomination she was prior to becoming Anglican. I mean, the whole reason I’m wondering is because of this story. I hadn’t even given it any thought prior to seeing this news. And yet, the story completely whiffs on the answer. I have no idea what she was.

Now, there is a line that may give a hint. It’s the last line:

British law forbids a Catholic, or anyone married to a Catholic, from taking the throne.

I mean, the story doesn’t say that Middleton was Catholic. But if the story is telling us that British law forbids anyone from taking the throne if they’re married to a Catholic, that suggests she was one. Doesn’t it? Or does it? I’m totally confused. (Here’s some background on that no Catholic royalty law, for what it’s worth.)

Voice of America reports that with her confirmation, she “joins” the Church of England. That would seem to indicate that her baptism was in a different church body. The AP report doesn’t tell us.

Thankfully the Telegraph has the goods.:

Miss Middleton, 29, was baptised at the age of five months at St Andrew’s Bradfield parish in Berkshire, but was not confirmed as a schoolgirl. The ceremony, which marks the point where baptised Christians make a firm commitment to their faith, was held on March 10. …

It is understood that she received guidance and counselling from the bishop before deciding to become confirmed. … The Bishop of London, who is regarded as one of the Prince of Wales’s favourite clerics, has played a role in several royal religious ceremonies in recent years. He confirmed the 14-year-old Prince William during a ceremony in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, in March 1997. …

Once Miss Middleton becomes a member of the Royal family, frequent church services will be a part of her life.

And it actually goes on to offer more information. So kudos to the Telegraph for not expecting its readers to have to investigate answers to some basic questions. I think this report makes it pretty clear that she was baptized in an Anglican church, but if you’re wondering, the church web site is here.

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  • Elizabeth

    What we seem to have here (and I confess, I’m even reading the British press articles) is the assumption that if you are born in England, and a Christian, you are part of the C of E. I’d love to know if Catherine Middleton ever actually went to church – or if the instruction she received was the first she’d ever gotten. In a country like England, with such a low rate of observance, it is possible that she has almost no background in the Christian faith. Also, it would be interesting to know why Chartres is such a fav of the royals. Too much deference! We want better gossip. ;-)

  • Peggy

    I was just wondering in the prior post about the royal wedding (on how no one cares whether Kate is a virgin) what Kate and William’s religious practices were…and this articles along and answers some of these questions…but leaves us with more as you say.

  • Jerry

    Last time the girls tried to dress up as princesses, my husband gave them a lecture on Constitutional governance.

    That caused me to have a very hearty chuckle. There’s something very male/female in that sentence :-)

  • Deacon John M. Bresnahan

    The prime minister said that changing the law to allow the royals to marry a Catholic and Egads! possibly wind up with a Papist on the throne.
    But, unless I missed it, there was no curiosity on the part of Newsweek about WHY the issue is so complex.
    How about the unmentioned “ghost” of the fact that the monarch of England is also the head of the Church of England. Allow someone other than an Anglican to be king–or queen– and you could have a Catholic being the head of the Church of England–as a Moslem could become such today.
    The Newsweek article seems to have missed this whole angle of the story.

  • Beth

    I think its a bit odd you are reading so much into this. All protestant denominations have a process of joining the church. It is usually done when someone is becoming a young adult. The law about no Catholics needs to be changed but has no baring on this situation. Kate just decided to join the church because her husband to be will be the head of the church one day if he is crowned. The law about non Catholic kings goes back to when England was struggling to pull away from the centralized power in Rome that controlled all monarchies and states in Europe.

  • Hector_St_Clare

    Re: All protestant denominations have a process of joining the church.

    Catholics have the same sacrament of confirmation as Anglicans do. It’s done at a variety of different ages, as far as I know.

    Re: The law about non Catholic kings goes back to when England was struggling to pull away from the centralized power in Rome that controlled all monarchies and states in Europe.

    The RC church only ever controlled half of Europe (at best), you’re forgetting about Byzantium and the East. In any case, even Western Europe, it’s silly to claim that the Church controlled ‘all’ monarchies and states. Some of them were strongly anti-clerical and sometimes even anti-religious, like the notorious atheist emperor Frederick II.

  • Julia


    Not to mention that Rome was sacked a few times by European monarchs, some Popes were kidnapped, and even Napoleon kidnapped a Pope and looted the Vatican.

    Confirmation may be how young adults join Protestant churches, but Catholic and Orthodox churches view Confirmation differently.

  • Julia

    The Catholic Church never controlled half of Europe.
    The central third of Italy was the largest area included in the Papal States.

    For about sixty or so years, the Papacy was controlled by the French crown as 6 French Popes elected or were pressured by the French king to keep their headquarters in Avignon in the 1300s.

    The Papacy in the Late Middle Ages played a major temporal role in addition to its spiritual role. The conflict between the Pope and the Holy Roman Emperor was fundamentally a dispute over which of them was the leader of Christendom in secular matters. In the early 14th century, the papacy was well past the prime of its secular rule – its importance had peaked in the 12th and 13th centuries.

  • R9

    I was hoping that fridge would turn out to be a photoshop.

  • J

    I thought the real story was related to this:

    Less than half of the British people believe in a God and the latest British Social Attitudes results saw over 50% say they’re not religious. Yet for some reason about 72% told the 2001 census that they were Christian. 66% of the population have no actual connection to any religion or church, despite what they tend to write down on official forms.

    In going through the stats, I found this humorous:

    Respondents who gave their religion as “Jedi” were counted in the “No Religion” category. Source: “Christianity is main religion in Britain”. National Statistics. 2004-10-11. Retrieved 2006-11-27 (via Wikipedia).

    Perhaps she converted from being a Jedi Knight!

  • Will

    John, the Act of Settlement says “nearest heirs of their body being Protestants.” Only the most blinkered anti-anti-Catholic axe-grinder would argue that “Protestants” includes Moslems, much less that those oh-so-tolerant Erastians who passed the act would have contemplated the prospect.

  • B. Sullivan

    I went through a long confirmation process in my church, which involved meeting with church elders, discussing scripture, how the church itself works, its history, etc. – only this was in the Presbyterian church. So yes, a lot of old Protestant denomination churches will have a confirmation process.