13 June 2016

Jewel History: Investiture of the Prince of Wales (1911)

The Prince of Wales, King Manuel II of Portugal, and the Duke of Connaught walk in the 1911 Garter Day procession (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

"Order of the Garter: Investiture of the Prince of Wales"
(originally appeared in the Marlborough Express on 12 Jun 1911)

LONDON, June 11 -- The ceremony of investing the Prince of Wales [1] with the Order of the Garter took place yesterday. The Knights and officers of the Order assembled in the Waterloo Chamber [2] and thence were summoned to the throne room, where the King and Queen [3], King Manuel [4], the Duke of Connaught [5], Prince Arthur of Connaught [6], and Prince Christian [7] were seated at the head of the table. The scene was one of great beauty and interest.

Postcard portrait of the Prince of Wales (later Edward VIII, later the Duke of Windsor) in his Garter robes following his investiture on June 10, 1911

The Duke and Prince of Connaught led in the Prince of Wales. The Prelate pronounced the customary admonition, and the King, having invested the Prince with the insignia of the Order, gave him the accolade. The other Knights present congratulated the Prince, who bore himself during the trying ordeal with dignity.

King George V and Queen Mary leave St. George's Chapel after the 1911 Garter Day service (Photo: Bain Collection, Library of Congress)

A procession to St. George's Chapel followed. The Duke of Argyll [8] and Lord Esher [9] led the military Knights of Windsor, and 23 Knights-Companion [10], heralds, and officers of the household moved in a stately fashion between a double line of Life Guards from the Coldstream Guards.

This postcard features a photo of Queen Mary taken on Garter Day 1911. The caption on the back of the card reads: "H.M. QUEEN MARY wearing the Insignia of the Garter set in diamonds, together with the Brooch which formed part of the Coronation gift of the Marys of the Empire. Photo by D. Knights Whittome at Windsor Castle on June 10, 1911." (Source)

Windsor Castle was crowded with spectators to witness the pageant, which had not been seen since the time of Charles II [11]. The Royal Knights accompanied the Prince, and four train-bearers clad in scarlet held the robes of the King and Queen, who walked hand in hand, Queen Mary wearing the insignia presented by the Marys of the Empire [12].


1. King Edward VIII (1894-1972), later the Duke of Windsor. He was the eldest son of King George V and Queen Mary. His investiture as a Garter knight happened when he was sixteen, a few months after his father became king, and a few weeks before his investiture as Prince of Wales.

2. The Waterloo Chamber is a large room in Windsor Castle decorated with art and objects related to the British defeat of Napoleon's army at the Battle of Waterloo in 1815. The annual luncheon for the knights and ladies of the Order of the Garter is held in the room every June. (If you visit Windsor Castle, this is one of the rooms you get to see on the tour.)

3. King George V (1865-1936) and Queen Mary (1867-1953) of the United Kingdom. This ceremony was held about two weeks before their coronation. George was made a knight of the Order of the Garter in 1884.

4. King Manuel II of Portugal (1889-1932) became his country's king suddenly in 1908 after the assassination of his father and his elder brother. He was appointed a knight of the Order of the Garter by King Edward VII in November 1909; the following year, the Portuguese monarchy was overthrown, and he spent the rest of his life in exile in England.

5. Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (1850-1942) was the seventh child of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert and the uncle of King George V. Arthur was made a knight of the Order of the Garter in 1867. A few months after this ceremony, he traveled to Canada to begin serving as that country's Governor-General, a role he held until 1916.

6. Prince Arthur of Connaught (1883-1938) was the son of the Duke of Connaught and a first cousin of King George V. He was also the brother of Crown Princess Margareta of Sweden (and therefore an uncle to Queen Ingrid of Denmark, among others). Arthur was made a Garter knight in 1902. Two years after this ceremony, he married his cousin, Princess Alexandra, Duchess of Fife.

7. Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein (1831-1917) was the husband of Queen Victoria's fifth child, Princess Helena (1846-1923). He was King George V's uncle by marriage. He was made a Garter knight in 1866, the year he and Helena married.

8. John Campbell, 9th Duke of Argyll (1845-1914) was the husband of Queen Victoria's sixth child, Princess Louise (1848-1939), and therefore was another of George V's uncles by marriage. He was appointed as a Garter knight a few weeks after this ceremony and invested the following year. At the time of the 1911 investiture, he was serving as the Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle, hence his involvement in the procession.

9. Reginald Brett, 2nd Viscount Esher (1852-1930) was an aide-de-camp to King Edward VII; he was also the Deputy Governor and Constable of Windsor Castle. In 1928, he became the castle's Governor and Constable.

10. In 1911, the 24 (not 23) Knights of the Order of the Garter were: the 1st Marquess of Abergavenny, the 15th Duke of Norfolk, the 6th Marquess of Londonderry, the 5th Earl of Cadogan, the 2nd Duke of Abercorn, the 5th Earl of Rosebery, the 1st Marquess of Breadalbane, the 5th Marquess of Lansdowne, the 6th Duke of Buccleuch & 8th Duke of Queensberry, the 7th Duke of Northumberland, the 9th Earl of Elgin & 15th Earl of Kincardine, the 6th Duke of Portland, the 1st Earl Roberts, the 11th Duke of Bedford, the 9th Duke of Marlborough, the 4th Duke of Wellington, the 4th Duke of Sutherland, the 7th Duke of Richmond & 2nd Duke of Gordon, the 1st Earl Carrington, the 1st Earl (later Marquess) of Crewe, the 5th Marquess of Northampton, the 3rd Earl of Durham, the 2nd Earl of Selborne, and the 4th Earl of Minto (who was also invested during this ceremony). Remember: royal knights are not counted in the number.

11. Not exactly. In The Queen's Houses, Alan Titchmarsh notes that the 1911 Garter Day ceremony was "the first since the reign of George III."

12. A committee of women from around the British Empire who were named "Mary" banded together to raise money to buy Queen Mary a coronation gift. (Another group of "Marys of the Empire" gave her daughter, Princess Mary, a wedding gift in 1922.) Part of the committee's gift included jeweled pieces of insignia of the Order of the Garter, including the diamond star, the badge, the garter (worn on the arm), and a brooch used to secure the order sash.