Held inside Windsor Castle later this year, the Monarch and most of the senior Royals will progress through the Castle to St George’s Chapel for the annual Garter Service.
The Order of the Garter is the senior and oldest British Order of Chivalry, founded by Edward III in 1348. Although ancient in nature, the current form of the Garter ceremonial only dates from 1948, when formal installation was revived by King George VI for the first time since 1805.
Modern revivals of old traditions are not that uncommon, and most of the “ancient” traditions of Monarchy can be dated only as far back as Edward VII, who succeeded the reclusive Queen Victoria and recognised the importance of pomp and ceremony in a modern Monarchy.
Truly ancient ceremonies tend to be either religious or linked to the medieval trading guilds, such as the City of London Livery Companies or market town councils.
Photo courtesy of the official Monarchy website
Anyhow – while the Garter Service takes place in private within the Chapel, and Windsor Castle is closed for the day, it is possible to watch the semi-private ceremonial procession to St George’s Chapel.
Frankly, you will be standing around for a while, and get but a few minutes of proximity to the Royal presence, but tickets to watch the procession are tightly limited which makes it quite a rare thing to have seen in person – and hence one worth adding to the list of “things I have done”. It’s also one of the few occasions when all the Royal Family are decked out in fancy costumes at the same time.
To request tickets, send an email before 1st March to Garterday.firstname.lastname@example.org with your name/address. You can request up to four tickets.
As with the Trooping the Colour, tickets will be allocated by ballot after the closing of applications.