19 June 2017

Jewel History: A Royal Choice (1951)

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"A Royal Choice"
(originally appeared in the Ottawa Journal, 18 May 1951)

The insignia of the Order of the Garter which the King [1] has bestowed on King Frederick of Denmark [2] in a State visit to this country, in a spectacular ceremony in St. George's Chapel, Windsor, in the presence of Queen Elizabeth [3], Queen Ingrid [4], and Princess Elizabeth [5] had been chosen with care.

By long custom, it has been the rule for all "collars" of the Orders of Chivalry to be returned to the King by the next of kin when their holders die. In the case of the Garter, the Thistle and St. Patrick it is usual for the King to give a personal audience. In other cases the collar is remitted through the post. By reason of its long history some of the collars are very old. Those in possession of the Royal Family [6] are believed to go back to the days of Henry VIII.

For the future all collars are to be registered so that posterity will be able to tell for certain who was wearing that particular jewel at that particular time. And future Kings of Denmark will wear the collar now to be given to King Frederick should they ever be made KGs [7].


1. This was the final Order of the Garter service attended by King George VI of the United Kingdom (1895-1952), who died the following February.

2. King Frederik IX of Denmark (1899-1972), father of Queen Margrethe II.

3. Queen Elizabeth of the United Kingdom (1900-2002), better known to us as the Queen Mother.

4. Queen Ingrid of Denmark (1910-2000), mother of Queen Margrethe II; she was the daughter of a British princess (Margaret of Connaught) and the stepdaughter of a Mountbatten (Queen Louise of Sweden).

5. Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom (1926-present), who, unbeknownst to her, was in her final year as a princess. On her father's death in February 1952, she ascended to the throne.

6. In 1951, the British royal family included the following members of the Order of the Garter: King George VI (sovereign of the order), Queen Elizabeth, Princess Elizabeth, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Duke of Gloucester, the Duke of Windsor, and Queen Mary.

7. Frederik's daughter, Queen Margrethe II of Denmark, was made an Extra (or Stranger) Lady of the Order of the Garter in 1979.