King attends first Order of the Garter service as monarch

Charles attends his first Order of the Garter ceremony as King, ITV News Royal Editor Chris Shipp reports on the proceedings at Windsor Castle

King Charles attended his first service of the most Noble Order of the Garter as monarch at Windsor Castle on Monday.

He and Queen Camilla waved to the thousands of people who gathered around Windsor Castle to catch a glimpse of the procession arriving at St George’s Chapel.

The Order of the Garter is the most senior rank of chivalry in Britain, established by King Edward III nearly 700 years ago.

It comprised of 24 members, including the King and Queen, several members of the royal family and 18 knights or ladies.

Today, former Labour minister Catherine Ashton was made Lady Companion while Chris Patten, the final governor of Hong Kong, became a Knight Companion.

Former prime minister Tony Blair and Lord Patten attend the annual Order of the Garter Service Credit: centre

Members of the Order in attendance included former prime ministers Sir Tony Blair and Sir John Major, as well as the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Edinburgh, among others.

The Princess of Wales also attended and shared a smile with William as the procession moved past.

Meanwhile, Queen Camilla arrived with Charles and could be seen clinging to her hat as the wind whipped up around her.

The Duke of York, who is a member of the Order, did not attend.

One member of the household cavalry fainted in the afternoon heat but was quickly helped back to his feet.

Meanwhile, two other members of the Order, Lord Shuttleworth and Lord Luce, were named in the order of service but were unable to attend.

After the service, a procession of four Ascot Landau coaches ferried away members of the royal family who waved to the crowds as they went past.

The King presided over the ceremony for the first time as monarch Credit: PA

The ceremony was attended by 800 guests inside the chapel and 2,900 members of the public who had won ballot tickets to watch from outside.

Samantha Toomes, 53, from Ripon, North Yorkshire, said: “It’s the first time we’ve been here since the Queen passed away, and I did feel quite sad this morning.

“Last year we came hoping to see her.”

The married sales director and mother-of-four added: “We do pomp really well in this country.

“It’s just amazing to watch the ceremony take place – it’s part of our great tradition.

“To be part of that is very special.”

The Prince and Princess of Wales depart in a carriage Credit: Kirsty Wigglesworth/PA

The appointment of the Baroness Ashton of Upholland and the Lord Patten of Barnes was announced on St George’s Day (April 23), the patron saint of the Order.

Baroness Ashton served as parliamentary under-secretary of state in the Department for Education and the Ministry of Justice between 1999 and 2007.

She also served as leader of the House of Lords and lord president of the Council as well as diplomatic roles including British European commissioner.

She was appointed a Dame Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to international diplomacy and is currently Chancellor of the Order.

A former Conservative MP, Lord Patten of Barnes served as governor of Hong Kong from 1992 to the handover to China in 1997.

He also served as environment secretary and chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster, as well as Conservative Party chairman.

The Royal Family at the Order of the Garter. Credit: left to right

The Royal website states: “Knights of the Garter are chosen personally by the Sovereign to honour those who have held public office, who have contributed in a particular way to national life or who have served the Sovereign personally.”

In addition to the 24 knights or ladies, overseas monarchs, known as supernumerary, or stranger knights, have also been appointed to the Order.

Other members of the Order have included Marshal of the RAF, Lord Stirrup, and former prime minister Sir Winston Churchill.

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