17 June 2019

Garter Day Jewels 2019

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It was a very royal Garter Day today indeed in Windsor, and we've got a look at all the royal jewels worn for the occasion!




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Garter Day, which is traditionally held on a Monday in June, is a celebration of the highest order of chivalry in Britain, the Order of the Garter. The order itself dates back to 1348, but the modern celebration of Garter Day began in 1948, when King George VI revived the tradition after the end of World War II. The day includes the installation of new knights and ladies, a luncheon, and a service of thanksgiving at St. George's Chapel in Windsor.


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This year's celebrations included the formal installations of two supernumerary knights (i.e., knights that don't count toward the restricted number of 24 companion knights/ladies). The members of the British royal family in the order are supernumerary knights/ladies, and foreign monarchs are a special kind of supernumerary members, called "stranger" knights/ladies. King Felipe VI of Spain, who was installed today, became a stranger knight in July 2017, when the Queen made him a Knight of the Garter during his state visit to Britain. Above, you can see him wearing the insignia of the order for the first time during the state banquet held at Buckingham Palace during that visit. (More jewels from that banquet here!)


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The other supernumerary knight installed today was King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands. The Queen made him a Knight of the Garter in October 2018, and he also wore his insignia for the first time at a state banquet at Buckingham Palace during that state visit. (More jewels from that state banquet here!)


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The two new stranger knights were officially installed at Windsor Castle today, and they wore their Garter robes for the service at St. George's Chapel with the rest of the members of the order.


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Both Felipe and Willem-Alexander also took formal portraits at Windsor Castle with the Queen and their respective spouses. Here, King Felipe and HM pose with Queen Letizia.


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Letizia chose neutrals for Garter Day, pairing diamonds with her black and gray ensemble. She wore the grand diamond earrings from the joyas de pasar...


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...as well as a lovely diamond floral brooch, which she's worn on at least one previous occasion.


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King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima also posed for a formal portrait with the Queen.


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Maxima wore bright, multicolored earrings for the occasion. (See a previous outing of the earrings here!)


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Maxima also wore a pair of diamond bangles with floral accents, plus her diamond wedding bracelet and her large ring set with diamonds and a pink center stone.


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Along with the stranger knights, two more members of the order were also installed today. In the foreground here, you'll see Dame Mary Peters, who won a gold medal in the pentathlon at the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich. She's a major figure in the sports world of Northern Ireland. In the background (and a bit blurred) is the Marquess of Salisbury, a Conservative politician and the current Chancellor of the University of Hertfordshire. With the addition of Peters and Lord Salisbury, the number of current knights and ladies stands at 23 -- meaning there's one vacancy at the moment.


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The British royal family was well represented today, too. The Queen, who is sovereign of the order, appeared wearing her robes over a gown embroidered with roses.


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She wore Queen Mary's Cluster Earrings for the occasion. (More on her Garter Day earrings here!)


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The Prince of Wales, who became a Knight of the Garter in 1958, was also in attendance. (The Prince of Wales automatically becomes a member of the order when the title is bestowed upon him.)


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For this year's service, the Duchess of Cornwall wore her grand pearl choker necklace with the pink topaz and diamond clasp, as well as the coordinating pink topaz earrings.


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The Duke of Cambridge, who became the 1000th Knight of the Garter in 2008, was also present.


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His Duchess, of course, was there, too. Kate wore the Collingwood Pearl Earrings that once belonged to her late mother-in-law, Diana, Princess of Wales. She and William rode with King Felipe and Queen Letizia during the carriage procession back to Windsor Castle following the service.


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The Princess Royal, who was accompanied by Sir Tim Laurence, wore earrings that appear to be set with rubies and sapphires -- a fitting pairing with the Garter robes. Anne became a Lady of the Garter 25 years ago, in 1994.


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The Duke of York, who was made a Garter knight in 2006, escorted King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima back to Windsor Castle after the service.


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The Earl of Wessex was also present -- like his elder brother, he was made a Knight of the Garter in 2006.


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For the service, the Countess of Wessex wore modern earrings with pearl drops -- an interesting contrast with her rather traditional woven summer hat.


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The Duchess of Gloucester (whose husband became a Garter knight in 1996) is pictured here beside Zenouska Mowatt, who often accompanies her grandmother, Princess Alexandra, to royal events these days. (Alexandra became a Lady of the Garter in 2003.) Birgitte wore pearls with floral earrings and diamond floral clips for the service, while Zenouska wore stacked bracelets.


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This angle shows the jeweled pendant that Birgitte suspended from her pearls for the occasion.


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Speaking of Princess Alexandra: the photographers today apparently forgot that she was in attendance! The only glimpse of her that I can use here on the blog is above. That's Alexandra's shoulder on the left, shown as she and the Queen arrived by car for the service at St. George's Chapel.


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And that's it for our 2019 Garter Day coverage, magpies! Rumor has it that some of the foreign royals may be sticking around for Royal Ascot tomorrow, so be sure to tune in here on Tuesday for more bling!