Prince William wore velvet robes and ostrich plume in his hat for the annual celebration of the Order of the Garter, one of the oldest orders of knighthood in the U.K.
Advertisement

Kate Middleton watched proudly as husband Prince William paraded down the walkway of Windsor Castle on Monday for a very royal occasion.

After skipping last year’s ceremony while on maternity leave, Kate was all smiles while William wore the velvet robes and high ostrich plume in his hat for the annual celebration of the Order of the Garter, one of the oldest and most senior order of knighthood in the U.K. The royal mom, 37, wore black and white for the occasion, pairing a Catherine Walker "Liza" coat with a Lock & Co. hat.

The parade to St. George’s Chapel — which recently hosted the royal weddings of Prince Harry to Meghan Markle and Princess Eugenie to Jack Brooksbank — followed a lunch in the Waterloo Chamber of the castle. The service was followed by carriage rides out of the chapel and up the hill back to the state apartments.

Kate stood at the Galilee porch of the chapel as the parade of Knights passed by.

Catherine Duchess of Cambridge Order of the Garter
Kate Middleton
| Credit: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock
Prince William, Prince Charles Order of the Garter
Prince William and Prince Charles
| Credit: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

William was made a Knight in what is the most senior order of chivalry in the U.K. in 2008. Kate memorably attended the ceremony that year, three years before they married.

Prince Harry and Prince William's girlfriend Kate Middleton
Prince Harry and Kate Middleton at Order of Garter ceremony 2008
| Credit: Tim Graham Picture Library/Getty
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Sophie, Countess of Wessex watch as Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Prince Charles, Prince of Wales
Kate Middleton and Prince William at Order of Garter ceremony 2014
| Credit: Arthur Edwards - WPA Pool /Getty

Hosted by his grandmother Queen Elizabeth, the Order of the Garter ceremony is one of the grand high points in the royal calendar. And this year, it saw two royal couples from Spain and the Netherlands join the occasion.

Queen Elizabeth II Order of the Garter
Queen Elizabeth
| Credit: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

King Felipe of Spain and King Willem-Alexander were at Garter Day, as the Queen installed them as Supernumerary, or “Stranger,” Knights of the Garter during the service at St. George’s Chapel.

Earlier in the day, during a private Investiture in the Garter Throne Room, Windsor Castle, former athlete Lady Mary Peters, and the Marquess of Salisbury, were invested with the Order’s insignia by the Queen.

Queen Elizabeth II (C) with King Felipe VI of Spain (L) and Queen Letizia of Spain
King Felipe, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Letizia
| Credit: Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty
Queen Elizabeth II (C) with King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands (C) and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands
King Willem-Alexander, Queen Elizabeth and Queen Maxima
| Credit: Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty

Felipe, who attended with wife Queen Letizia, had been appointed during the Spanish State Visit in July 2017, and King Willem-Alexander, whose wife Queen Maxima was by his side, received his appointment during his State Visit in October 2018.

King Willem-Alexander joins his mother and former monarch, Princess Beatrix, who was appointed to the order in 1989, while King Felipe’s father, Juan Carlos, was also named a “supernumerary” member. King Harald V of Norway and Emperor Emeritus Akihito of Japan have also been given the honor.

Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and the Duchess of Cambridge, they watch the annual Order of the Garter Service at St George's Chapel
King Willem-Alexander, Queen Maxima and Kate Middleton
Order of the Garter Service 2019. (left to right) Sophie Countess of Wessex, Queen Letizia of Spain, the Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and the Duchess of Cambridge
Sophie Countess of Wessex, Queen Letizia of Spain, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Queen Maxima of the Netherlands and Kate Middleton
| Credit: Press Association via AP
Queen Letizia, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge Order of the Garter
Queen Letizia, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall and Kate Middleton
| Credit: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

The Order of the Garter was founded by Edward III in 1348 and is the most senior order of knighthood in the British honors system. The number of companions is limited to 24, although supernumerary members do not count towards this total.

Queen Letizia, Catherine Duchess of Cambridge Order of the Garter
Queen Letizia and Kate Middleton
| Credit: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock
Queen Maxima Order of the Garter
Queen Maxima
| Credit: Tim Rooke/Shutterstock

The Order includes the Queen, who is Sovereign of the Garter, several senior members of the royal family, and 24 knights chosen in recognition of their work. Knights of the Garter are chosen personally by the monarch to honor those who have held public office, contributed to national life or personally served the monarch.