Membership is limited (the queen, Prince of Wales and 24 other members) and can only be granted by the monarch. Prince William was installed as a Royal Knight in 2008. Obviously his father is one, as are his uncles and Aunt, Princes Andrew and Edward and Princess Anne. Women can be admitted; Margaret Thatcher is a member.
The ceremonial garb is what makes this event distinctive Members wear long dark blue velvet robes (lined in white taffeta-gorgeous!) and black velvet caps with ostrich feathers, along with the garter/insignia whose motto is Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense (that’s “Old” French for essentially “Shame on one who thinks evil”).
The members march from the state apartments at the castle into St. George’s Chapel, and the royals are driven back to the castle in horse drawn carriages. The public can watch the procession to and from the chapel. This year Prince Charles was absent because he was under the weather. However, his father, Prince Phillip, who was recently released from the hospital, did attend. It was nice to see him back on the “royal engagement trail” and side by side with the queen.
This event takes place on the Monday of Royal Ascot week . Ahh! This means that we’ll have more lovely photos of fancy headwear later this week!
(Thanks, Wikipedia, for some of the information used in this article.)