I’ll do another post on today’s Order of the Garter service on Tuesday, because as of right now, it’s taking a long time for photo agencies to get these new photos up. So I’m just going with what we have now. Just know that there were so many royal figures gathered at Windsor Castle today. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall, The Countess of Wessex and Prince Edward, the Princess Royal (Anne), and some foreign royals too: King Felipe VI of Spain and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands, and their respective queens, Letizia and Maxima. King Felipe and King Willem-Alexander were appointed Supernumerary Knights of the Garter, or Stranger Knights of the Garter. The Daily Mail had a nice write-up about the history of the Order of the Garter:
King Felipe VI of Spain and King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands have been welcomed to Windsor by The Queen today as they receive a special honour reserved only for foreign royals at the annual Order of the Garter service. Her Majesty welcomed the royals and their wives Queen Letizia of Spain and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands to Windsor Castle, where she officially invested them as Supernumerary, or ‘Stranger’, Knights of the Garter.
Felipe was appointed by the Queen during his July 2017 state visit while Willem-Alexander received the honour during his state visit in October 2018, with today’s ceremony cementing their awards at one of the grandest events on the Royal calendar. The Order of the Garter is a a 700-year tradition founded by Edward III in 1348, and recognises contributions of great public service from those honoured – usually Lords and Ladies of the UK.
Although the Order has a limit of 24 members, excluding The Queen and Prince Charles, foreign royals have been given honorary ‘Stranger Knight’ status since 1813, with controversial recipients over the years including Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany before World War I. Two official appointments made today are Lady Companion, Lady Mary Peters, and Knight Companion, Robert Gascoyne-Cecil the Marquess of Salisbury, who are both being invested with the Order’s insignia by The Queen at Windsor Castle.
Knights of the Garter are 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. Stranger Knights is a second order bestowed upon foreign royals, with the title not counting towards the official limit of 24 members. The last time a foreign monarch was invested was King Harald of Norway in 2001, with royals often keeping the honour during their reign and then the title being passed on to their successor.
William is Knight of the Garter, but Harry is not – it was believed that William was made a Knight of the Garter so young because he’s second in line to the throne, but it’s also believed that Harry will eventually be made a Knight of the Garter, but maybe not until he’s about 40 years old (which is when Edward and Andrew were given the honor). I think it’s kind of cool that the Queen would choose to honor foreign kings as Stranger Knights too, although it looks like all of the kings getting the honor are European. I’m sure King Salman of the House of Saud would love to be part of this, I’m just saying. Anyway, I just enjoy the photos of the Queen looking like something out of Harry Potter.
Photos courtesy of Getty.