Garter day is the procession and service held each year at Windsor Castle for the Most Noble Order of the Garter, a chivalric order founded by Edward III. The Order is the senior and oldest British Order of Chivalry, and their motto is ‘Honi soit qui mal y pense’ (shame on him who thinks this evil). New appointments to the Order are announced on St George’s day (23rd April), but are installed on Garter Day, which takes place on the Monday of Royal Ascot week. George VI revived Garter Day in 1948, with the procession, having been abandoned in 1805. The Queen formally invests them with the insignia at a Chapter of the Order in the Throne Room of Windsor Castle, including their blue mantle, hat with ostrich plume, and Garter Star.
There can only ever be 24 Knight Companions of the Order of the Garter, plus any Royal Knights (i.e. any member of the Royal Family). The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh entertain the members and officers of the Order at a lunch in the Waterloo Chamber. Following lunch, the Knights proceed to a service in St. George’s Chapel on foot, with crowds allowed inside the castle walls to witness this procession. The route the Knights take is through the Upper, Middle and Lower Wards of Windsor Castle to St. George’s Chapel, the spiritual home of the Order; the Constable and Governor of Windsor Castle, along with the Military Knights of Windsor lead the procession.
Following the service, and any installations, Her Majesty, Royal Companions, and Knights make their way back to the Upper Ward in carriages and cars. Current Royal Knights include The Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge, The Duke of York, The Earl of Wessex, The Princess Royal, The Duke of Gloucester, The Duke of Kent and Princess Alexandra.
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