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The BBC's Rosie Millard, in Dornoch
"Madonna re-postitions herself as the First Lady of pop"
 real 56k

The BBC's David Sillito, in Dornoch
"It appears Rocco remained quiet throughout"
 real 56k

Thursday, 21 December, 2000, 23:21 GMT
Rocco all over the world
Madonna, Guy Ritchie and baby Rocco
Madonna and Guy Ritchie leave with baby Rocco
The baptism of Madonna's son Rocco has taken place at Dornoch Cathedral.

The superstar arrived accompanied by film director husband-to-be Guy Ritchie, who was carrying their four-month-old child.

The couple made a brief appearance in front of hundreds of photographers and cameramen after being swept into town in a dark Range Rover, flanked by a police motorbike.

They also paused to wave to the crowds as they left at the end of the 25-minute service at 1900 GMT.

Sting with wife Trudi Styler
Sting, accompanied by wife Trudi Styler
They were joined by several other stars for the ceremony in the Highland town on Thursday evening.

Actress Gwyneth Paltrow was the first major name to turn up, followed by designer Stella McCartney and rock star Sting.

The singer/songwriter, accompanied by wife Trudi Styler, had been expected to sing at the event.

Actor Rupert Everett was a latecomer, arriving shortly before the end dressed casually in white jeans and a black leather jacket.

Man detained

A 51-year-old from the south of England was arrested after the ceremony and was being detained at Dornoch Police Station.

The man, who had concealed himself inside the cathedral during the baptism, has been charged with a number of offences.

The baptism was conducted by local minister the Reverend Susan Brown, who will also marry the couple the following day in a star-studded ceremony at Skibo Castle.

After the christening Ms Brown addressed the large numbers of journalists, explaining the significance of baptism.

Gwyneth Paltrow arrives
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow arrives at the cathedral
"To welcome any child into baptism is very special. It reminds us about how God loved us before we could have loved him.

"It's a cause for celebration when parents feel they want to confess their faith in one God," she said.

"It's what Christmas is really about. It's about God coming to us in the hope that we might come to him."

Hundreds of fans braved the cold to gather outside the cathedral in the hope of catching a glimpse of baby Rocco and his mother.

Married in Dornoch

Some even climbed trees to get a bird's eye view of the celebrities attending the christening.

Gordon MacKenzie was one of the star-spotters. He said: "This is brilliant, it was fantastic seeing Madonna. She has to be my favourite."

Sharon Sutherland from Inverness was herself married in Dornoch Cathedral seven years ago.

The 30-year-old said: "I wanted to come here today because I have always been a fan of Madonna.

Madonna waves to the crowd
"I have followed her since I was 14, I grew up with her really."

Brenda Munro, 32, from Elgin, took the day off work in the hope of catching a glimpse of Madonna.

"I was very excited when I heard that she was planning to marry in Scotland and would not have missed this for the world," she said.

"Fortunately my boss was very understanding in letting me have the day off."

Some fans had messages of support on banners which they held up when the baptism party arrived.

Margaret Wilson, 47, from Dornoch, carried a sign which read "Rocco is our ray of light to Dornoch" - a reference to one of Madonna's album titles.

Mrs Wilson, who was there with her two daughters, Pauline, 29, and Elizabeth, 28, said: "He has brought the whole world to Dornoch."

Stella McCartney
Designer Stella McCartney was among the guests
Pauline said: "We think this is wonderful. We were so pleased that Madonna chose our little town for the christening and the wedding, we hope more stars come here now. They will all be very welcome."

The fans were joined in their quest by the world's media, who had their lenses trained on the cathedral well in advance of the service.

However, the police were full of praise for the crowds who turned up for the event.

Ramsay McGhee, Northern Constabulary's acting deputy' chief constable, said: "We are very pleased with the way things have gone, the crowd behaviour was exemplary."

Liquid News on BBC Choice is providing special coverage of Rocco's christening at 0030 GMT on Friday, followed by a special show at 2030 that evening to mark the wedding.

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See also:

21 Dec 00 | Scotland
A shoogle for little Rocco
21 Dec 00 | Scotland
Picture gallery: baby Rocco
20 Dec 00 | Scotland
Madonna media on Dornoch's doorstep
19 Dec 00 | Scotland
Stars arrive for Madonna wedding
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