The Duchess of Cornwall has received a special honour from her mother-in-law, The Queen. She has been made a Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.
The appointment of Royal Knights and Ladies is entirely in the gift of The Queen, which means that the decision was made without Prime Ministerial advice. Her appointment takes effect today – 1 January 2022.
The Most Noble Order of the Garter was founded in 1348 by King Edward III and is the highest order of chivalry and the third most prestigious honour. Soon after its founding, women were appointed “Ladies of the Garter”, but they were not made companions. The first woman was King Edward III’s wife Philippa of Hainault, who was made a Lady of the Garter in 1358.
The most recent royal female additions are:
- Queen Alexandra, wife of King Edward VII (1901)
- Queen Mary, wife of King George V (1910)
- Queen Elizabeth, wife of King George VI and later Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother (1936)
- Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (1944)
- Princess Elizabeth, later Queen Elizabeth II (1947) (Sovereign of the Order)
- Queen Juliana of the Netherlands (1958)
- Queen Margrethe II of Denmark (1979)
- Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands (1989)
- Anne, Princess Royal (1994)
- Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy (2003)
Only female monarchs were companions of the Garter. It wasn’t until 1987 that a statute made it possible for a woman to be installed as a companion.