Uh, Basically Every Royal in the World Just Hung Out with Queen Elizabeth
If you thought Trooping the Colour was jam-packed with royals, then prepare to be amazed. Not only did the British royal family—Queen Elizabeth, Prince Charles, Prince William, Kate Middleton and the rest of the gang—show up at Windsor Castle today, but Spain’s King Felipe and Queen Letizia and the Netherlands’s King Willem-Alexander and Queen Màxima joined the party, too.
So, why did basically every royal in the world gather today? To celebrate the Order of the Garter, of course.
The Order of the Garter dates back to 1348 when King Edward III, inspired by King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table, founded his own group of knights. It’s described as “the oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Britain” on the royal family’s website and is more or less a gathering of people chosen for their impact on society. Previously, the Order of the Garter was expressly reserved for members of the aristocracy, but now men and women of all backgrounds are considered.
As you might have guessed, Queen Elizabeth is in charge of the whole event. So, she hosted a lunch for the new knights and their guests, which was followed by a procession through the grounds of Windsor Castle and the official service in St. George’s Chapel.
When the order meets, each knight is required to wear a ceremonial dress of velvet robes, insignia and plumed hats. Below you’ll see knights Prince Charles and Prince William fully decked out in their regalia.
Pretty spiffy, huh?
If you’re wondering why the British royal family opted to include foreign monarchs, you’re not alone. As it turns out, the King of Spain and the King of the Netherlands were installed “as Supernumerary, or ‘Stranger,’ Knights of the Garter,” according to the Royal Family Instagram account.
This basically means that although they’re foreign, they’re A-OK in the queen’s book. King Felipe received his appointment in the order in July 2017 and King Willem-Alexander received his in October 2018, but now they’re officially installed.
While all this fanfare transpired, the royal women of the world had time to chat (…or gossip). Below, Sophie, Countess of Wessex (who’s married to Prince Edward) can be seen standing next to (left to right) Queen Letizia, Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Màxima and K-Middy.
The Countess of Wessex selected a vibrant Suzannah ensemble and Queen Letizia opted for a black-and-white Cherubina number. The Duchess of Cornwall wore a ballerina pink Anna Valentine coatdress, Queen Màxima donned a nude Claes Iversen cape dress and the Duchess of Cambridge wore a chic white Catherine Walker coat with black piping. Needless to say, they all looked stunning.
But why were the men and women isolated like they were at a middle school dance? We’re not totally sure, but the royal family Instagram account did shed some light on the event: “The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Cambridge, The Duke of York, Earl of Wessex and the Duke of Kent are all Knights of the Garter. The Princess Royal and Princess Alexandra are both Lady Companions,” a slideshow of event photos was captioned. “Their Royal Highnesses all attended #GarterDay. The Duchess of Cambridge, Duchess of Cornwall, The Countess of Wessex and The Duke and Duchess of Gloucester attended the service.”
What a day for royals everywhere.