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Prince George Turns One! And Here’s How To Throw A Baby’s First Birthday Party Like A Royal

Section: Celebrity Mums
Prince George celebrates his first birthday on 22 July *pops the champers*. About to celebrate your baby’s own first birthday? Perfect! M&B approached the ultimate party experts for their ideas – from cake and clothes to games and party favours. You’ll love what Wills and Harry used to eat as toddlers…
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Who should you invite?

Kate and Wills like to be low-key – George’s intimate christening was followed by a private tea at Charles and Camilla’s, and his first birthday party is likely to be a family affair with friends. It’s often a wise move. Image: Getty
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Nearest and dearest

‘Keep the guest list short and invite a friend for older siblings so they don’t feel left out,’ says Sarah Reynolds, from online magazine The Party Times, owned by Party Pieces, Carole Middleton’s celebration supplies company. Image: Corbis
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Keep it short

‘Hosting at home is practical (or take a picnic to the park) and aim for no more than two hours’ party time, which will suit one-year-old energy levels and attention spans,’ Sarah adds. Ideally hold the party at teatime to tally with baby’s routine. Image: Corbis
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Pick your theme

Choose two to four contrasting colours to influence decorations, and so on. ‘For our flamingo party, we used lime and hot pink and worked around that,’ says event planner Mark Niemierko of Niemierko Kids. For toddlers, focus on their latest favourite. ‘We’re getting lots of Frozen-inspired requests right now, as well as enchanted woodland events.’ Image: Corbis
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Be décor savvy

And by décor, we mean balloons. ‘Have helium ones so they’re out of reach, or if you want normal ones to play with, under inflate them slightly so they won’t burst too easily and cause tears,’ says Sarah. Image: Corbis
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The food focus

For a one year old’s party, food is about quality over quantity, while also making something that’s both child- and parent-friendly. Image: Corbis
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For grown-ups, too

‘It’s nice to do a few separate dishes for adults, especially as the kids won’t eat a lot and most will end up on the floor as they feed themselves,’ advises Darren McGrady, who was personal chef to The Queen for 15 years. Image: Corbis
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Think easy to eat

Good options for little ones are homemade banana bread (Darren suggests cutting into small cubes with a tiny piece of fresh strawberry held in place with whipped cream cheese), minced turkey meatballs and finger food. Image: Corbis
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Bite-sized snacks

Also try this easy carrot and egg recipe. ‘Grate the carrots, sauté in a little olive oil, fold in a tiny bit of egg yolk to bind and then some whipped egg whites,’ says Darren. ‘Bake for 10 minutes until set and allow to cool. You can now use a small shaped cutter to make bite-size pieces.’ Image: Corbis
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Sarnies for the royals

‘To make egg mayonnaise sandwiches for William and Harry when they were tiny, I’d pass boiled eggs through a fine sieve to take out any lumps or shell and then bind with mayonnaise,’ says Darren. ‘No need to butter the bread, just cut the crusts off.’ Image: Corbis
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Perfect sweet treat

And if you want regal treats, make jam pennies – buttered white bread sandwiches with strawberry jam, cut into circles. ‘They’ve been served in the nursery since The Queen was a toddler and I always made them for the boys,’ Darren says. ‘At Balmoral we made jam from strawberries that William and his childcare nanny picked in the gardens.’ Image: Corbis
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What to wear?

Blue, white, red and green have been the go-to colours in George’s wardrobe (Kate stocked up in BabyGap for the royal tour in April). But as with anything baby related, the key words are comfort and practicality. Image: Rex
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Keep it classic

‘The Duke and Duchess choose timeless styles for their baby,’ says children’s fashion designer Rachel Riley, whose sailboat-design dungarees (£75, sold out after George was photographed in them at a New Zealand playdate. ‘They've also made dungarees a must, which work well for both sexes because they allow movement and are easy to undo (for nappy changes), but still look smart.’
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A touch of colour

Add a modern twist so he or she stands out. ‘Perhaps a smock dress with neon detail, or traditional buckle shoes in a fun colour,’ suggests Rachel. And with chocolate, cake and grass to contend with, two words for you – machine washable. Image: Corbis
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Let them eat cake!

For their wedding, William and Kate ordered a chocolate cake, using an old family recipe, and an eight-tiered cream masterpiece made by Fiona Cairns – a layer of which was enjoyed at George’s christening, in line with tradition. Image: Corbis
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Choose simple colours

‘A limited colour palette for a cake is more interesting,’ says Fiona. ‘A soft, pastel vintage green is always popular, and we often match icing to decorations – pale pink with sugar strawberries for example.’ Image: Corbis
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Go with tried and tested

Fiona adds: ‘A good, basic cake is a Victoria Sponge . It is a simple recipe, which can be adapted with flavours such as lemon or chocolate and used to make little fairy cakes or a larger cake to cut.’ If you’re not confident, think about a tray bake, vanilla cupcakes or small meringues filled with cream. Image: Corbis
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All in the presentation

Fiona suggests assembling the little cakes on a large board, spelling out the child’s name or age. ‘Decorate everything with tiny sweets, many are now made with natural colours, or use sprinkles or edible flowers and colourful candles.’ Image: Corbis
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Prep where possible

Some recipes freeze well, including undecorated sponges and unbaked biscuits, so make as much as you can in advance, then ice and decorate the day before or on the day. Image: Corbis
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Boost party bags

‘Bake gingerbread men and pipe them with guest names,’ says Fiona. ‘These can be done a few days ahead and put in cellophane bags with ribbon.’ Image: Corbis
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What about entertainment?

Ellie Goulding did a set at the royal wedding but, assuming your baby (or budget!) won’t expect quite that level of ents, go for consistent winners – music, bubbles and toys. Image: Corbis
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Keep it relaxed

‘One-year-olds aren’t all going to play games together so keep things flexible with a few structured activities, and gauge how involved the other adults at the party will want to be in case you need help,’ says George Whitefield, director of children’s party organisers Sharky and George. Image: Corbis
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Get the water out

‘Babies and toddlers love ball pits, bubble machines and disco lights and, if you can be outside, water play is good fun – get lots of mini watering cans and plastic cups then let the kids loose,’ George says. Image: Corbis
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Create games

Simple treasure hunts with boxes of toys or snacks work, too, and can be adapted if you have different ages at the party. Image: Corbis
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And finally…

George also recommends The Baby Grand National game. ‘Get a large rug and put all the babies in the middle. The winner is the trainer (aka parent) who can get their baby to crawl or roll off any side of the mat.’ Image: Corbis
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