Protesters rally at Windsor Castle to oppose Tony Blair knighthood

Around 150 people have gathered outside Windsor Castle in protest of Sir Tony Blair being appointed to the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry.

The former prime minister, and MP for Sedgefield, joins a royal order, made up of just two dozen people.

His knighthood has drawn a fierce backlash, particularly due to his role in the Iraq war.

Chris Nineham, Vice Chair of the Stop the War coalition, who was at the protest on Monday 13 June, said: "It’s an absolute disgrace that a man who lied to the people, misled Parliament, misled the cabinet to take us into a toxic and actually illegal war in Iraq should win an honour such as this."

Blair represented Sedgefield in County Durham and was in Number 10 for more than a decade.

It was announced in December the former Labour leader was to be appointed a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter - the highest possible ranking.

More than 1.5 million signatures were gathered on a petition calling for the knighthood to be "rescinded", claiming he was the "least deserving person of any public honour" and that he should be "held accountable for war crimes".

Blair was prime minister during Allied military invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Janice Procter's son was just 18 when he was killed in Iraq. Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Those against his appointment include the bereaved parents of soldiers who died in the wars, like Janice Proctor, from Washington, who lost her son, Private Michael Tench, in 2007.

Speaking to ITV Tyne Tees in January, she said: "It's just absolutely appalling for this man to be given such a high knighthood for disaster.

"This man isn't worthy. He isn't worthy of this."

But some Labour politicians associated with Blair's premiership voiced their support for the decision.

Speaking to ITV Tyne Tees as Blair picked up the honour, his former Sedgefield constituency agent, John Burton, said the ex-PM "thoroughly deserves" to be honoured.

On Blair's role in the Iraq War, he added: "[The Queen] realises there was more to the Labour Government than Iraq.

"They picked a lot of children out of poverty, they improved women's rights, Northern Ireland was so important, and the things he did in Kosovo... so I think the Queen is to be congratulated."

Asked for his response to the controversy, Blair said he felt a huge amount of sympathy for those affected by his decisions but "when you are in office it is your job to take them, and you've got to take them and stick by them".

Blair addresses backlash from parents of dead soldiers to his knighthood.