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British Royals

A weekend of firsts as King Charles leads Garter Day celebrations

Less than two days after presiding over his first Sovereign’s Birthday Parade, it was time for King Charles III to participate in his first Garter ceremony as monarch. 

The sun was shining, and the wind was blowing upon Windsor on Monday, 19th June, when the King, Queen and members of the Royal Family arrived at St George’s Chapel for the traditional service. 

Many of the people in attendance were seen holding firmly onto their hats, especially the white feathered ones from the Order of the Garter Regalia, which are not designed to be pinned in place and therefore tend to fly away quite easily. 

The annual church service is used to celebrate all members who are appointed by the monarch, as well as installing the newly nominated members. This year, they included Baroness Ashton of Upholland and Lord Patten of Barnes. 

The Queen is also a recent appointment; she was installed as a Lady Companion in last year’s ceremony, following her appointment in 2021 by the late Queen Elizabeth II. 

i-Images / Pool

Also present were the Prince and Princess of Wales, the Duke and Duchess of Edinburgh, and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester. 

As for other notable faces in attendance, they include former Prime Ministers Tony Blair and Sir John Major, as well as a face that some royal fans will be familiar with: Alistair Bruce, the Governor of Edinburgh Castle and a Royal Commentator for Sky News and ABC News. 

The Order of the Garter is celebrating its 675th anniversary this year, having been founded by King Edward III in 1348. Interestingly, women were admitted to the Order soon after its foundation, albeit with the simple title of “Lady of the Garter” rather than “Lady Companion.”

King Henry VII removed this impediment in 1488; however, it took until 1901 to have the first “Lady Companion,” with Queen Alexandra being named by her husband, King Edward VII. 

Since then, the tradition has continued for Queen Consorts to be nominated Lady Companions; this applied to Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth (the Queen Mother). 

Under Queen Elizabeth II, in 1987, a statute was issued making it possible for Lady Companions of the Garter to be installed that were not part of the Royal Family.