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Jason Bell to snap UK royal christening

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LONDON  (AFP) – Celebrity portrait photographer Jason Bell, known for his pictures of Paul McCartney and David Beckham, will take the official christening photos of Britain’s Prince George, Kensington Palace announced Tuesday.

Prince William and his wife Catherine asked him to take the official photographs following Wednesday’s service in the Chapel Royal at St James’s Palace.

Bell is renowned for his portraits of Beatles legend McCartney, football icon Beckham, and Hollywood stars such as Scarlett Johansson.

The award-winning photographer will take the pictures at Clarence House, the home of William’s father Prince Charles, the heir to the throne.

Catherine, William  and their baby
Catherine, William and their baby

The pictures are set to become milestone images in British royal history as they should show four generations of monarchs together: Queen Elizabeth II, her eldest son Charles, his eldest son William and the new royal baby.

The last time such a baptism photo was taken was in 1894 at the christening of the future king Edward VIII, showing the infant with his father, later king George V, grandfather, the future king Edward VII, and great grandmother, queen Victoria.

“The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have asked Jason Bell to be the official photographer at the christening of their son, Prince George,” Kensington Palace said in a statement.

The pictures will be released on Thursday.

Bell has done photo shoots for Vogue, Vanity Fair, Time and Newsweek magazines, among others.

The 44-year-old Londoner has also photographed Hollywood stars such as Nicole Kidman, Johnny Depp, Kate Winslet, Halle Berry, Judi Dench, Liam Neeson and Daniel Craig.

US Olympic swimming legend Michael Phelps, England footballer Wayne Rooney, comic Chris Rock and vocalists Eminem, Sting and Robbie Williams have all posed for Bell.

He decided on a career as a portrait photographer while studying politics, philosophy and economics at Britain’s prestigious Oxford University.

Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury and spiritual leader of the Church of England, will perform the baptism ceremony.

The leader of the world’s Anglicans said in a YouTube video that the baptism of George, who was born on July 22, would be a historic moment for Britain.

“As a nation we’re celebrating the birth of someone who, in due course, will be the head of state,” he explained.

“That’s extraordinary. It gives you this sense of forward looking, of the forwardness of history as well as the backwardness of history, and what a gift to have this new life and to look forward,” he said.

“I will mark Prince George with the sign of the cross on his forehead.

“That is the sign by which we understand that this person belongs to God.”

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