King Charles Appoints Emperor Naruhito to Order of the Garter

At the state banquet at Buckingham Palace this evening, Emperor Naruhito wore the Garter Star for the first time—signifying his appointment to the Order of the Garter, which was made today by King Charles. New members join the Order, the highest order of chivalry in the UK, at the sole discretion of the sovereign.

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Queen Camilla, Empress Masako, Emperor Naruhito, and King Charles arriving for the banquet.KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH - Getty Images

The Garter Star, which signifies membership in the Order of the Garter, is "worn on full dress uniforms, court dress, morning coat, full evening dress coat, or dinner jacket," per the Journal of Heraldry, and it was first introduced by King Charles I back in 1629. "At first, the star was embroidered, but fairly soon it was made of silver and enamel, and in some cases acquired diamonds and rubies. In 1946 the original Stuart shape was re-introduced," the Journal notes. On Garter Day, which takes place every June, members wear their insignia as they parade through Windsor.

Emperor Naruhito joins four other Japanese emperors to have received the Garter; his father, Emperor Akihito, was appointed to the Order by the late Queen Elizabeth. King George V appointed two different Emperors to the Garter—Emperor Hirohito, in 1929, and Emperor Yoshihito, in 1912—and King Edward VII appointed Emperor Meiji (Naruhito's great-great-grandfather) in 1905.

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Queen Elizabeth II and Emperor Akihito, both wearing the Garter star, 1998.JOHN STILLWELL - Getty Images

Also today, Emperor Naruhito presented King Charles with the Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum, the highest honor in Japan. (He was awarded it back in October 1971, but had yet to formally receive the Collar.)

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