British Royals Celebrate Order Of the Garter

As they do each year on the day before the start of Royal Ascot, members of the British royal family and distinguished guests gathered at St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, for the annual Garter Service. This service, which celebrates The Order of the Garter (the highest order of chivalry and one of the most prestigious honours in the United Kingdom awarded at the Sovereign’s pleasure as a personal gift) dates back to 1348 and remains a highlight on the royal calendar each year.

Royal Order of the Garter, June 15, 2015

Members of the Garter wear elaborate robes and accessories for the Garter Service including a special hat. The hat, in the style of a Tudor bonnet, is made of black velvet and trimmed with a glorious plume of white ostrich and black heron feathers. Queen Elizabeth, who is Sovereign of the Garter, the Duke of Edinburgh, who is a Royal Knight of the Garter, and the Prince of Wales, who is Knight Companion of the Garter, all appeared today in the procession to St. George’s Chapel in this regalia and hat.

Numerous other members of the British Royal Family have been welcomed into the Order as Royal Knights and Ladies – they also attended the service in Garter robes and hats.

Princess Alexandra of Kent and the Duke of Kent

The Duke of York, The Earl of Wessex and the Prince of Wales

The Duke of Cambridge and Princess Anne, the Princess Royal

The Duke of Gloucester

Spouses of royal Garter members were also in attendance today. As seen above, Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence wore a very handsome black antique silk hat. The Duchess of Cornwall repeated another one of her cream picture hats with wide, curving up-swept brims. This piece, in sparkling metallic straw, is trimmed with a large ruched band that circles around the perimeter of the hat. It’s a lovely piece, particularly with Camilla’s streamlined gold and cream jacket, but she has several hats in this shape she as worn in the past few weeks and I am more than ready to see something different.

Designer: Philip Treacy. Dress and coat by Bruce Oldfield.
Previously Worn: June 15, 2013; September 16, 2012June 19, 2012June 3, 2012

The Countess of Wessex repeated her black velour cocktail hat with draped silk twisted bow. The hat coordinated beautifully with her other black accessories to provide the perfect contrast to her green silk dress. I adore this dress on Sophie and thought the hat was paired very well to it.

Designer: Jane Taylor. Dress by Suzannah.
Previously Worn: March 26, 2015

The Duchess of Gloucester repeated a grey straw beret hat. While I have oft’ mentioned my desire to remove the hat’s “stem”, this piece is well matched to Brigitte’s grey and blue dress and she wears it well.

Designer: unconfirmed. My guess is Lock & Co.
Previously Worn: November 6, 2013June 19, 2013; June 5, 2012

It is always wonderful to see the British royals enjoying an event together and such seems to be the case today. One of my favourite parts of the Garter Service is that it heralds the coming of Royal Ascot, which starts tomorrow! Stay tuned early Tuesday morning for a review of the hats seen at the first day of the races.

Photos from Splash News via Corbis and Getty as indicated

18 thoughts on “British Royals Celebrate Order Of the Garter

  1. I’m surprised there have been several mentions of the Queen’s patched robe. I saw it elsewhere, but in the photos here (at least on my computer) it looks like it’s been Photoshopped out.

    A bit surprised to see Sophie’s green dress here. I thought surely she would use it at one of the later days of Ascot, paired with a new hat. I liked the hat at the Richard III reinterment, and I like it here, combined with black accessories against the green.

    The Garter caps are a bit problematic, aren’t they? I think the Princess Royal has got it exactly right – hat steamed and slightly poufed (wonder if they use tissue?) placed at a slight angle, with the feathers nicely fluffed and positioned. That photo of her is stunning in it’s dignity. The men? Well, we can tell they aren’t accustomed to wearing big hats with feathers, now can’t we? Bless em.

  2. Everyone looks amazing at the Garter Day events. As it seems many have tired of Camilla’s large hats, please send them all my way! I still absolutely love this one, even if the brim does look a bit like a gigantic wood shaving; this detail makes it so unique. The Countess of Wessex is stunning, and I agree with @JamesB that she looked better this time than this outfit’s premiere. The Duchess of Gloucester looks great, although I wish she would pull out another hat shape beyond these berets she’s fond of. And of course, Sir Tim looks fantastic in that top hat; always good to see those on display outside of Ascot.

  3. I think the one person who stood out is the Countess of Wessex. Although the entire outfit does rather look at though it sprang from the 1950s, it is a beautiful example of the 1950s. Color and style are spectacular.
    Although it’s typical for her hats and a multiple repeat itself, the Duchess of Cornwall’s hat was spectacular too, and that coat is beautiful.

  4. Really like the photo of all 3 brothers together – we don’t see them all at the same events very often anymore.

  5. You all can have Sophie’s green dress – I think it’s rather frumpy – but then I wore dresses like it in the 50s and don’t really want to look at them again! I always thought you needed to be rail thin to look decent in that style. I do really like both Cams and Sophie’s hats however.

  6. The Countess of Wessex’s hat and gorgeous green dress are sublime. They look great together, and Sophie looks so beautiful and elegant. I always enjoy seeing pictures of the ceremony and the participants, and of course pictures of the spouses are always welcome. I love The Duchess of Cornwall’s big hats, but something smaller would be interesting to change things up. She wears hats well and it would be fun to see what else she could find.

  7. Everyone did look splendid and the weather did not look too oppressive for those heavy robes. I know HM is thrifty but it is puzzling to see her patched Garter robe. Perhaps it tore as she was preparing for the ceremony and there wasn’t time to obtain a new one.
    Camilla looks wonderful in that hat. Sophie’s dress and hat are certainly stand-outs.

  8. This renaissance cap must be one of the most difficult hats to wear well today. Most looks like they sat on theirs. The queen and prince Phillip wears the best versions, probably because their caps is placed at a slight angle while their ostrich plumes lies softly over the cap masking its floppy shape. That is exactly how these caps are supposed to be worn if you look at paintings of Henry 8.

    The dutchess of Cornwall looks wonderful, but the hat looks a little heavy. The countess looks wonderful as well, but I do find that a colour that blends better with the order of the garther robes would be better on this occasion.

  9. It has just occurred to me to wonder where they got ostrich feathers in 1348??? Or are they a later addition to the uniform.

    I think everyone looked splendid!

    • The Queen looked really smiley and happy 8 got a fabulous picture of her smiling at Philip. I love Sophie s New Look dress and when she was standing waiting for the Queen she really stood out from the crowd

  10. Well the Garter robes do what they always do. Camilla does what she always does (I love this outfit, but change it up a bit love, why hasn’t she repeated the parquet floor outfit from the Jubilee service instead of this one – ever?!) Sophie definitely did what she does these days – and looks amazing! I suspected we’d see this number again this week and it looks stunning on her, perhaps even better than the last outing. I think she’s our most stylish Royal lady now…

    And did anyone else notice – in the DM pics, HM’s Garter robe has needed a big a patch up…!
    http://dailym.ai/1JTGIne

    • I’ve also wondered why the parquet floor coat and hat haven’t been worn again. Maybe this week?

      The giant patch on the Queen’s robe leaves me flabbergasted. I’m all for economizing royal fashion whenever possible but this is taking things too far. When one’s Garter robe starts looking like a pair of patched farmer overalls, it’s time for a new one.

      • Well quite – though I imagine Lilibet would regard that as quite the extravagance! Couldn’t they just replace the front pf the robe at least? It’s the patching I object to! Still I guess with her Tupperware and electric fire this is her being a true child of the war!

      • So many of the outfits from the Jubilee service (not just Camilla’s) should make a comeback.

        It also looks like Charles’ robe might also have a patch in almost the same spot, but his extends farther around. Maybe these robes are older than we imagine and they’re trying to use ones from days long gone by?

  11. I thoroughly enjoyed Camilla’s and Sophie’s hats, especially Camilla’s hat from the side. Is Sophie’s hat the same hat she wore recently to the garden party at Buckingham Palace? If so, with the weather being somewhat overcast in Windsor, the hat didn’t create a shadow over Sophie’s face. That was the one thing that bothered me at the garden party was the forever shadow over Sophie’s face because of the position of her hat so far down over her forehead. While Sophie looked wonderful, I’m not a fan of the retro dress. Looking forward to the Royal Ascot reviews.

    • Peggy, you can search the Countess of Wessex’s name on the search box on the left side of the blog or scroll down to a full index of names of royals who appear on this blog and click on her name to find all posts she has appeared in. That will bring up these three recent posts- #1, #2, and #3, that show the hats Sophie has worn to garden parties so far this year.

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