The dream of attending an Investiture is something that makes up my dreams. An Investiture is where a person who is awarded an honour receives that award in person from The Queen, The Prince of Wales and sometimes The Princess Royal or Prince William.
Anyone can nominate any person they see fit to receive an honour, following the guidelines of “achievement in public life” and “committed themselves to helping and serving Britain”. For more information on how to nominate someone, please visit gov.uk/honours.
Primarily held in the Ballroom at Buckingham Palace, the approximately 25 Investitures held each year can also take place in the Waterloo Chamber at Windsor Castle, the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh or overseas during a State visit to award the 2,600 recipients each year.
A tradition started in 1876 by Queen Victoria, The Queen begins each ceremony entering the room with two Gurkha orderly officers. In 1485, Henry VII created the tradition of members of The Queen’s Body Guard that are also on duty, which also still takes place today. Any music is played by the Purcell School of Music or a military band.
The National Anthem is played, followed by the Lord Chamberlain or a Lord in Waiting announcing the name of each recipient and what they are being honoured for.
The Queen will place the decoration on the person and congratulate them on their award. Any of those lucky enough to receive a knighthood must kneel on an Investiture stool before The Sovereign. Queen Elizabeth then uses a sword that belonged to King George VI, her father, to dub them.
Taking about an hour to complete, The Queen or any other member of the Royal Family hosting an Investiture stands throughout.
When receiving an award of one of the Orders of Chivalry those attending an Investiture may also receive a decoration for gallantry, such as The Queen’s Gallantry Medal or the George Cross. Next of kin may accept an award of gallantry on behalf of deceased family members at a private ceremony beforehand.
The distribution of British insignia in the Commonwealth countries is organized by The Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, a branch of the Lord Chamberlain’s Office. They also organize each Investiture on home soil.
With each recipient being allowed to bring 3 guests to watch the ceremony, who would you bring?
Photo Credit: Christina Saint Marche via Flickr