British Royals Attend Garter Service

Established by King Edward III nearly 700 years ago, The Order of the Garter is the oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Britain. Twenty four recipients of the order, known each as a Knight or Lady,  meet each year for a ceremony held int St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle on the Monday before Royal Ascot begins. The British monarchy describes these men and women as “chosen personally by the Sovereign to honour those who have held public office, who have contributed in a particular way to national life or who have served the Sovereign personally.” The annual Garter Day procession, where the Queen, Knights and Ladies process from Windsor Castle to St. George’s Chapel in grand velvet robes, sparkling insignia and distinctive plumed hats, is very grand indeed.

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The hat associated with the order is a black velvet Tudor-style design with voluminous crown atop a flat brim (some appear less flat with age!), trimmed with black heron feathers, lavish white ostrich plumes and a slim cord wrapped around the base of the crown that extends to a pair of gold and royal blue tassels hanging down the side (see last photo of the Queen in the set below).

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In addition to the Queen, the order is held by members of the British royal family including: The Duke of Edinburgh, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cambridge, Duke of York, Earl of Wessex, Princess Royal, Duke of Gloucester, Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra. All, except for Prince Philip, were in attendance today.

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The Duchess of Cornwall repeated her white straw picture hat with angular, off-centre peaked crown and sideswept brim trimmed in a shiny dark navy patent hatband and slimmer navy silk strip that wraps into a circular side decorative wreath. The sharp lines of the hat appear to be softened by Camilla’s cream dress and lace jacket and while the pairing is for the most part a good one, I’m not keen on the dark navy trim on the hat paired with the black trim on the jacket.
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Designer: Philip Treacy
Previously Worn: Sep 17, 2017
The Countess of Wessex repeated her oyster straw hat with shallow, flat crown and wide, mushroom brim, trimmed by a swath of curling oyster and black feathers and cream crin twists around the top of the brim. It was this hat’s first pairing with just the familiar toille dress (she earlier paired it with this dress and a black jacket) and the two pieces combine to make a light and very pretty summery ensemble. 
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Designer: Jane Taylor. Dress by Emilia Wickstead.
Previously Worn: June 2, 2015May 17, 2014August 9, 2013June 4, 2013
The Duchess of Gloucester repeated her slate blue straw pillbox with short veil. The hat links well with Brigitte’s matching dress coat and the sheen of the straw and pattern of the veil gives some lovely textural contrast within the ensemble.
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Designer: unknown
Previously Worn: May 19, 2018June 17, 2017June 1, 2017July 1, 2016June 12, 2016June 10, 2016

The Duchess of Gloucester’s daughter-in-law, the Countess of Ulster, was spotted leaving the service along with Princess Alexandra’s granddaughter Zenouska Mowatt. The Countess of Ulster repeated a cream straw button percher hat trimmed with long laquered red goose feathers and a black pinok pok straw bow. With her red dress, the hat tops a sharp look for Claire. Zenouska topped her white and navy dotted frock with a navy straw waved teardrop percher hat trimmed with a tall, folded ruffle of navy and cream crin. Like many other young royals, Zenouska wears this style of hat very well and the piece looks to coordinate perfectly with her dress.

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Designer of The Countess of Ulster’s hat: Awon Golding
Previously Worn: June 10, 2016
Designer of Zenouska’s hat: I suspect Jane Taylor
Previously Worn: I believe this is new.
Garter day is always a highlight and serves as a wonderful opening to Ascot week. What do you think of the hats spotted at Windsor Castle today?
Photos from Getty as indicated

16 thoughts on “British Royals Attend Garter Service

  1. Not certain if it’s the angle of the photos or the way she has done her hair, but this hat looks much better on Camilla this time. I’m still a bit annoyed with the crown shape, but otherwise it’s a good hat. I do wonder if the shininess of the patent leather trim and hatband make it look more navy, but it’s actually black? At any rate, it’s a fantastic look for Camilla!

    Nice to see Sophie brim this one back out (I’ve been missing brimmed hats on her), and I love that she let her hair down too!

    This is officially Birgitte’s June hat. While it’s a nice one, she really needs to mix up her rotation, especially as it’s been virtually the only one we’ve seen her in at all these high profile June royal events over the last two years.

    • Argh, I somehow accidentally “post comment” before I was done!

      Love that Claire brought this cocktail hat back out; it’s a fabulous one for her! Finally, it’s good to see Zenouska involved at these events; looks like she is working to accompany her grandmother Alexandra, which is great! Despite being a minor royal, it’s fun to see Zenouska embrace the hats and outfits and camaraderie voluntarily, but effortlessly.

  2. I love the Garter hats — likewise the glorious robes. And that photo of Princess Anne is a delight!
    Camilla: a fabulous hat and an oh-so-flattering suit, I’m just not convinced that this is the best hat to pair with all that black lacework; and the hat is disconcertingly white relative to the cream of the suit. I’d prefer to see the suit worn with a similar hat in cream, with a black ostrich feather.
    Sophie: gorgeous hat, gorgeous outfit — just needing some makeup on those tan lines :).
    Claire, Countess of Ulster: the link to a previous wearing of this hat (thanks HQ!) shows just how well it complements Claire’s red dress. Lovely!

  3. Just wondering whether Camilla’s lace trim is indeed black or just a very dark navy that is photographing ‘matte’, whereas her hat trim is ‘gloss’. Hmm, I feel I must go immediately to Windsor and inspect! 🙂 Very much looking forward to Ascot and living vicariously through Chicago Chuck.

    Sophie looks very nice here (even though I’m not 100% behind the pattern on the fabric).

  4. Is Xan, Lord Culloden one of the two royal pages? He first appeared on the balcony at Trooping the Colour a few days ago. That would explain why his mother the Countess of Ulster was present. As Dr. Claire Booth, a busy consultant, she rarely attends royal events, apart from weddings…

    I loved Claire’s hat, especially the red goose feathers sticking up. I couldn’t see the rest of her, but red is a distinct departure. If memory serves, she wears a lot of navy.

    Sophie looks spectacular. I only hope that she’s shortened her dresses a bit. The hat is well worth repeating.

    • Excellent observation, Shinjinee Sen. You’re absolutely right- the darker haired boy with glasses acting as one of the royal pages indeed looks to be the Earl and Countess of Ulster’s son, Xan, Lord Culloden. That also certainly explains why his parents were in attendance.

  5. I agree with the other commenters: the Css of Wessex looks marvellous.
    The black/navy issue with the Dss of Cornwall’s outfit only shows up from some angles/in some lights, but it does detract from the overall look when it’s visible.

  6. “Whoever invented these robes wasn’t very practical, even in the days when somebody wore clothes like these.” HMQE Thankfully the hats of this event make up for what the robes lack!

  7. I like the style of Sophie’s dress, kind of New Look Dior, it’s a something “new” compared to the outfits we are used to seeing

  8. Love Garter Day, and it’s always the entree to an exciting week of fabulous hattery!

    I love Camilla’s look, but liked it even more before you pointed out the black/navy clash. It’s an unusual look for her, but a good one.

    Sophie’s dress remains spectacular and she knows it still. I think this hat has debuted in this form before though, in Scotland in May 2014. I’d never have spotted it was a reboot though, good catch.

    HM, Anne, Alexandra… and all the men… look fabulous! Straight out of a film.

    • Yikes, JamesB. Of course Sophie’s hat has appeared in this form before. The post is fixed but it’s not a good way to start out Ascot week where I need as much mental clarity as I can muster….

    • JamesB, I concur; Sophie looks outstanding today, and her hair looks great in the pic where she’s chatting with Camilla! My iPhone doesn’t pick up her black/navy clash.

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