Prince Andrew to join Queen for Garter Day ceremony

·3-min read
The Duke of York and the Queen during the Trooping of the Colour in 2018. Prince Andrew has agreed to no longer use his HRH title in any official capacity - Mark Cuthbert
The Duke of York and the Queen during the Trooping of the Colour in 2018. Prince Andrew has agreed to no longer use his HRH title in any official capacity - Mark Cuthbert

The Duke of York will attend Garter Day alongside the Queen and other senior members of the Royal family and will be listed in the next day’s Court Circular.

The ceremony, one of the highlights of the Royal family’s summer schedule, will take place at Windsor Castle on June 13 for the first time in three years.

The Duchess of Cornwall will be among those invested into the country’s oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry before the traditional procession to St George’s Chapel for a short service.

The Duke will attend in a private capacity as a Royal Knight.

The Queen, as sovereign of the order, appoints Knights of the Garter without consulting ministers. Her son’s appointment was therefore considered a private one.

The Duke was effectively sacked as a working royal as he defended himself against a sexual abuse civil case. In January, Buckingham Palace announced that he had been stripped of his military titles and has agreed to no longer use his HRH title in any official capacity.

Just weeks later, he settled the civil case out of court with a reportedly £12 million payment to his accuser, Virginia Roberts Giuffre, including a donation to her sex trafficking charity. although he denied any wrongdoing.

A palace source said the Duke’s inclusion in the Court Circular would be “standard practice”.

Fears Duke could overshadow event

Critics will fear that the Duke’s presence will overshadow the event, much as it did the Duke of Edinburgh’s service of thanksgiving in March, when he took centre stage by travelling alongside the Queen and walking her to her seat.

Hundreds traditionally gather to watch the colourful spectacle as Garter Knights process through the grounds of Windsor Castle in elaborate velvet robes and plumed hats, accompanied by military units.

However, plans currently under consideration could see them abandon the ceremonial robes entirely in order to enable the Queen’s comfort.

If the monarch were to join the procession to the chapel, she is unlikely to wear the heavy robes, meaning that those accompanying her would follow suit.

In the event, should she be well enough, Her Majesty is thought more likely to attend both the ceremony in the Garter throne room and the ensuing lunch in the Waterloo Chamber but then skip the public procession and church service due to ongoing mobility issues.

The Duchess of Cornwall - Chris Jackson
The Duchess of Cornwall - Chris Jackson

In that instance, the Knights and Ladies Companion will put on the full display of pomp and pageantry in all of their finery, the first since 2019.

The Duchess of Cornwall was admitted into the ancient order in recognition of her increasing importance within the Royal family, the first Royal Companion to be created since Prince William in 2008.

She joins seven other senior members of the family including the Princess Royal, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex, but notably not Prince Harry.

Tony Blair among those knighted

Others personally knighted by the Queen in the New Year’s Honours list were Tony Blair, who was made a Knight Companion, and Baroness Amos, the former Cabinet minister in Mr Blair’s government, who became a Lady Companion and the first person of colour to be appointed.

It is the first honour Mr Blair has ever received from the Queen and followed unsubstantiated reports in 2020 that his award was being held up over anger at Buckingham Palace over his handling of the death of Princess Diana in 1997 when he described her as “the People’s Princess”.

The latest appointments took the total number of Knights and Ladies Companion to 20 of a maximum 24. There is no limit to the number of royal members.

A royal aide said the appointments were “chosen personally by the Sovereign to honour those who have undertaken public service, who have contributed in a particular way to national life or who have served the sovereign personally.

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