Friday, December 31, 2021

Duchess of Cornwall will receive Order of the Garter

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The Duchess of Cornwall has received this very high honor for "services to the Sovereign."

It is unusual for the wife of the heir apparent to receive the Garter.   Queen Alexandra was the first (modern) Royal Lady. She received the Order in 1901 after her husband, King Edward VII, succeeded to the throne.  She was the only distaff member of the Royal Family to receive the Order of the Garter during the reign of Edward VII.

Queen Alexandra was the first female royal to receive the Order since 1488 when Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Derby received the Order from her son, Henry VII.

Shortly after his accession to the throne in May 1910, King George V bestowed the Order of the Garter on his wife, Queen Mary.     Twenty-six years later,  King George VI named his wife, Queen Elizabeth as a Royal Lady of the Garter.

In 1944, Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands was named the first female Stranger Lady.  Princess Elizabeth, as heiress presumptive to the throne, received the Order in 1947.  

The Queen has since named three more Stranger Ladies:  Queen Juliana of the Netherlands (1958) Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (1979) and  Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (1989).  The first Lady of the Garter since the 1500s was Lavinia, Duchess of Norfolk in 1990.  Since 1990. five more women have been named as Lady Companion:  Baroness Thatcher (1995),  Mary, Baroness Soames (2005), Baroness Manningham-Buller (2014) Lady Mary Fagan, (2018), and  Lady Mary Peters (2019). 

Edward III founded the Most Noble Order of the Garter, an order of chivalry, in 1348.  The Order is limited to 24 members.  As supernumeraries, The Prince of Wales. Royal Knights and Ladies and Stranger Knights and Ladies (foreign sovereigns) are excluded from the 24 member limit.

There is a precedent for honoring the spouse of the heir to the throne with the Order.  On November 19, 1947, King George VI gave the order to his future son-in-law, Prince Philip.  Princess Elizabeth received the Garter a week earlier so she could have precedence before her husband.   The Duke of Edinburgh would not have to wait until his wife was Queen to receive the Order.  Perhaps the Queen thinks that the Duchess of Cornwall should not have to wait for the Garter until Charles becomes king.

Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha received the Garter at Ehrenburg Palace in January 1839 before he left his homeland to marry Queen Victoria.

The late Duke of Edinburgh was 26 when he married the then Princess Elizabeth.  The Duchess of Cornwall is 74 years old.   

A new precedent may be set and perhaps, the Duchess of Cambridge will be the first Royal lady to receive the Garter from King Charles III.

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It is apparent that the Queen holds her daughter-in-law in high regard with the bestowing of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.  

The motto of the Most Noble Order of the Garter is “Honi soit qui mal y pense” — “Evil be to him who evil thinks."

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Susan Cosnick said...

Perhaps a statement by HM on the status of the Duchess?

Noore said...

I am delighted by this news. Well-earned.

Wendy Hunter said...

What a wonderful and deserving honour for the Duchess!

bl-r said...

If I may comment on the other two appointments, I find them quite interesting, if not telling. Both are Labour politicians, nominated during the premiership of a Tory politician, it certainly is quite significant. Is The Baroness the first person of African descent to be given the Garter? I am sure her involvement with the Commonwealth has much to do with her being honored.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

The Garter is the queen's personal gift and is not made in her name. Other former PMs have received the Garter: Stanley Baldwin, Churchill (PM at the time of the appointment), Clement Atlee, Harold Wilson, Sir Edward Heath, James Callaghan, Lady Thatcher, John Major so Tony Blair followed Major.

Bridget =) said...

Isn't the Duchess of Cambridge also a member of the Garter? I thought she was... maybe I am thinkin of something else.

Marlene Eilers Koenig said...

Catherine does not have the Garter. She does have the Queen's family Order (as does Camilla) In 2019 she received the Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order. Camilla received that Order in 2012