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Royal Style Files: the 2019 Order of the Garter Ceremony


The yearly Order of the Garter ceremony is known as the “oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Britain.” Established by King Edward III nearly 700 years ago in 1348, The Queen joins senior members of the Royal Family including her children, Princes Charles, Andrew, and Edward as well as Princess Anne, her grandson Prince William, and other knights. Both men and women are recognised for public service. Membership of the order is limited to the Sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and no more than 24 living members, or companions.

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Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Buckingham Palace announced that this year’s service would be cancelled.

“The annual Garter service at Windsor Castle has been cancelled. Events of this nature often involve considerable planning for attendees.

“Mindful of current government advice, we have taken this decision to eliminate any uncertainty for guests due to attend.”

With this year’s event cancelled, Royal Central is taking a look at the fashion seen at the 2019 Order of the Garter Ceremony.

Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia

During the event, Queen Letizia of Spain wore a long-sleeved dress by the Spanish brand, Cherubina. Covered in a delicate dotted pattern, the Queen paired the ensemble with simple black accessories. Her husband, King Felipe was installed in St George’s Chapel as a Supernumerary, or “stranger”, Knight of the Garter.

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The Knight of the Garter is the noblest order of the Garter. It’s considered the world’s oldest national order of knighthood that is in continuous existence. The Supernumerary members do not count towards the limit of 24 companions. The membership has been extended to foreign monarchs since 1813 with the installation of Emperor Alexander I of Russia.

The King of Spain was appointed by Her Majesty during his Spanish state visit in July of 2017.

Netherlands’ King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima

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Queen Máxima of the Netherlands chose a blush pink outfit for the occasion. Many were quick to note that the Queen did not wear a hat or fascinator prior to the beginning of the event. However, Queen Máxima was seen with a floral hat for the church service.

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The Queen was in attendance as her husband, King Willem-Alexander was appointed a Supernumerary Knight of the Garter. That appointment came during a state visit to the United Kingdom in October of 2018.

Duchess of Cornwall

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The Duchess was seen in a light pink dress by British designer Anna Valentine. Her hat was done by the royal’s favourite milliner, Philip Treacy. The Irish born milliner has made hats for some of the world’s most famous including royalty, Madonna, and Lady Gaga.

Duchess of Cambridge

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The Duchess of Cambridge was seen wearing a white coat-dress done by Catherine Walker and a hat done by Lock & Co. Many noted the similarities between the Duchess, and her late mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales who wore a similar ensemble in August of 1995. Diana was attending the VJ Day 50th anniversary celebration with her sons, Prince Harry and Prince William at the time.

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Countess of Wessex

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The Countess of Wessex turned heads at the event as she wore tropical colours. Sophie wore a Suzannah creation which consisted of a long-sleeve top and a 50s-style coral silk mini skirt. Her hat was designed by Jane Taylor.

Order of the Garter robes

As with tradition for the Order’s ceremonial occasions, the members wear elaborate vestments and accoutrements.

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The mantle is a robe worn by members since the 15th century. Once made of wool, the robes transitioned to velvet in the 16th century. Colours of the robes have varied over the years as the mantle was originally purple. During the 17th and 18th centuries, the robe switched colours to ones such as celestial blue and violet.

In current times, the mantles are now dark blue and lined with white taffeta. The heraldic shield of St George’s Cross is encircled by the Garter onto the left shoulder of the mantle. The Sovereign’s mantle has the star of the Order.

About author

My name is Sydney Zatz and I am a University of Iowa graduate. I graduated with a degree in journalism and sports studies, and a minor in sport and recreation management. A highlight of my college career was getting the chance to study abroad in London and experiencing royal history firsthand. I have a passion for royals, royal history, and journalism, which led me to want to write for Royal Central.