Prince William joined Her Majesty The Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh and the Princess Royal at a thanksgiving service for the Order of the Thistle at Edinburgh’s St. Giles’ Cathedral yesterday, Thursday, 7 July.
The Prince, who is known as the Earl of Strathearn while in Scotland, joined his aunt and grandparents as hundreds of onlookers lined the streets to greet the royals. As members of the Order, all four were dressed traditionally in the resplendent ceremonial mantles of the Order as they took part in a grand procession to the Chapel of the Order of the Thistle in Edinburgh, for the Order of the Thistle Service which happens every other year.
The royal party arrived at the cathedral to a trumpet fanfare and led a procession to the Chapel, accompanied by the Chancellor, Dean and Secretary of the Thistle as well as the current Knights of the Order including Lord Smith of Kelvin, Lord Steel and Lord Cullen. The procession then continued to the Cathedral for the remainder of the Service, which featured readings, hymns and prayers.
Following the Service there was a short Reception in the Signet Library and a lunch at the Palace of Holyroodhouse.
The Order of the Thistle is the greatest order of chivalry in Scotland and is second only in precedence in England to the Order of the Garter. Though the exact year and date of the Order’s foundation is unknown, it is possible that James III played a role as his reign saw changes to Royal symbolism in Scotland which included the thistle being adopted as the Royal plant badge.
The Queen is the Sovereign of the Order and appointments as Knights and Ladies are her personal gift to give. In addition to the current 16 Knights and Ladies, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales, the Princess Royal and the Duke of Cambridge have been appointed as Royal Knights of the Thistle.