King leads senior royals in colourful Garter Day procession

The King has led senior royals in their annual colourful procession through the grounds of Windsor Castle for Garter Day.

Resplendent in the traditional velvet robes and plumed hat of the Order of the Garter, the monarch appeared delighted to be presiding over the elaborate display of pomp and pageantry in the sunshine.

The Queen, also in the order’s full regalia, was beside the King as the procession snaked its way down the hill from the castle’s State Apartments to St George’s Chapel.

The King and Queen were followed in the procession by their young pages, Guy Tryon, nine, and Charles van Cutsem.

Guy Tryon is the son of the King’s godson, Lord Charles Tryon, and the grandson of the late Lady Dale Tryon, an Australian socialite who enjoyed a close relationship with the King in his younger years.

Charles is the son of family friends Hugh van Cutsem and Rose Astor.

King Charles continues to have cancer treatment
The King, who is still having cancer treatment, led the way - CHRIS JACKSON/GETTY IMAGES

Ahead of them walked the Prince of Wales, who chatted to his uncle, the Duke of Edinburgh, and the Princess Royal, cheered by the crowds who had gathered to watch the spectacle.

The Duke of Kent, 88, travelled by car accompanied by Capt Kat Anderson, the King’s assistant equerry.

The Princess of Wales, who made a welcome return to public life on Saturday at Trooping the Colour alongside her three children, did not attend.

The Princess said in a personal statement released last Friday that she was making “good progress” in her chemotherapy treatment but was “not out of the woods yet” and had “good days and bad days”.

She said she was learning to be “patient” in allowing herself time to heal and was not expected to attend Garter Day or Royal Ascot this week.

It was the first Garter Day the Princess has not attended since 2018 when she was on maternity leave following the birth of Prince Louis.

She is usually to be found watching from the sidelines alongside the Duchess of Edinburgh, often suppressing a smile as she catches Prince William’s eye.

On Monday, the Duchess watched the procession alongside Princess Anne’s husband, Vice Admiral Sir Tim Laurence.

The Order of the Garter is the oldest and most senior order of chivalry in Britain, with knights chosen by the sovereign in recognition of their outstanding public service and achievement.

This year, the Duchess of Gloucester was invested into the order, having been made a Royal Lady Companion in April.

The investiture was described as the “ultimate accolade” for the 77-year-old, whose work supporting the monarchy has often gone under the radar.

Prince William wearing his robes
Prince William was not watched by his wife, this time - ISABEL INFANTES/REUTERS

Air Chief Marshal the Lord Peach, a retired RAF officer who chairs Nato’s military committee, Lord Kakkar, a professor of surgery, and Lord Lloyd-Webber, the composer, were also invested and installed as knights.

Other Knights include former prime ministers Sir John Major and Sir Tony Blair and Baroness Manningham-Buller, the former head of MI5, who was recently appointed the first-ever female chancellor of the Order.

Andrew not present

The Duke of York did not take part in the procession, as the King followed the precedent set two years ago, following his fall from grace.

Prince Andrew joined the King and the rest of his family for the earlier investiture in the castle’s Garter throne room and the traditional lunch that takes place afterwards in the Waterloo Chamber, both behind closed doors.

However, he has not been photographed alongside other royals in his robes on Garter Day since 2019. The event did not take place in 2020 or 2021.

It comes amid ongoing tensions over the future of Royal Lodge, the Duke’s sprawling Windsor home, which the King wants him to vacate. Charles is unwilling to continue funding his brother’s lifestyle, which includes a significant security bill, but the Duke has so far refused to budge.

On arrival at the chapel’s West Door, a trumpet fanfare sounded before the 50-minute service, broadcast via speakers to the spectators in the grounds.

Lord Lloyd-Webber, the composer, was invested and installed as a knight
Lord Lloyd-Webber, the composer, was invested and installed as a knight - Jonathan Buckmaster/Pool via REUTERS

Afterwards, the Knights and Ladies of the Order slowly filed outside, lining the steps before the King and Queen emerged to get into the first of the waiting carriages to head back up to the castle.

Prince William, who had taken off his hat in the heat, chatted to his aunt, the Duchess of Edinburgh, before joining both Sophie and Prince Edward in the second carriage.

The Princess Royal and Sir Tim and the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester followed behind, the carriages moving at pace.

The guests enjoyed afternoon tea before dispersing.

Cancer treatment continues

The ceremony came just two days after Trooping the Colour, the King’s official birthday parade, during which the monarch joined the colourful procession down the Mall in a carriage rather than on horseback.

The high-profile public events come as Charles continues to receive cancer treatment.

Buckingham Palace aides have insisted on calibrating his working days to ensure he does not overdo it.

However, the King and Queen are expected to attend Royal Ascot every day this week bar Wednesday.

Following the announcement of the snap general election, the palace postponed royal engagements “which may appear to divert attention or distract from the election campaign”.

However, this did not include the big set piece events of the royal calendar.