Royal Ladies of the Garter

Honi soit qui mal y pense” (“Shame on him who thinks evil of it.”)

Her Majesty the Queen wearing vestments of the Order of the Garter (H M Cotterill via Flickr)
Her Majesty the Queen wearing vestments of the Order of the Garter (H M Cotterill via Flickr)

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. Between 1358 and 1388 several women, most of which were of royal descent, were made Ladies of the Garter.  This is the list of the royal women who were or are Ladies of the Garter.

  • Queen Philippa, wife of King Edward III (1358)
  • Isabella, Countess of Bedford, daughter of Edward III (1376)
  • Joan, Princess of Wales, mother of King Richard II (1378)
  • Constance of Castile, Duchess of Lancaster, second wife of John of Gaunt (1378)
  • Philippa of Lancaster, later Queen of Portugal, daughter of John of Gaunt (1378)
  • Elizabeth of Lancaster, later Duchess of Exeter, daughter of John of Gaunt (1378)
  • Philippa de Coucy, Countess of Oxford, daughter of Enguerrand VII, Lord of Coucy and granddaughter of King Edward III (1378)
  • Isabella, Countess of Cambridge, later Duchess of York, first wife of Edmund of Langley (1378)
  • Queen Anne, first wife of King Richard II (1384)
  • Eleanor, Countess of Buckingham, later Duchess of Gloucester, wife of Thomas of Woodstock (1384)
  • Catherine of Lancaster, later Queen of Castile, daughter of John of Gaunt (1384)
  • Constance, Lady le Despencer, later Countess of Gloucester, daughter of Edmund of Langley (1386)
  • Katherine Swynford, later Duchess of Lancaster, longtime mistress and third wife of John of Gaunt (1387)
  • Mary, Countess of Derby, wife of Henry Bolingbroke, Earl of Derby, and mother of King Henry V (1388)
  • Queen Isabella, second wife of King Richard II (1397)
  • Catherine, Duchess of Guelders (1399)
  • Joan, Duchess of York, second wife of Edmund of Langley (1399)
  • Queen Joan, second wife of King Henry IV (1408)
  • Queen Philippa of Denmark, Norway and Sweden, daughter of King Henry IV (1408)
  • Margaret, Duchess of Bavaria (1408)
  • Queen Blanche of Germany (of the Romans), daughter of King Henry IV (1408)
  • Philippa, Duchess of York (1408)
  • Queen Catherine, wife of King Henry V (1420)
  • Eleanor, Duchess of Gloucester (1436)
  • Jacquetta, Duchess of Bedford (1436)
  • Queen Margaret, wife of King Henry VI (1448)
  • Queen Elizabeth, wife of King Edward IV (1477)
  • Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV, later Queen consort of King Henry VII (1477)
  • Elizabeth of York, Duchess of Suffolk, sister of King Edward IV (1477)
  • Cecily of York, later Viscountess Welles, daughter of King Edward IV (1480)
  • Mary of York, daughter of King Edward IV (1480)
  • Margaret Beaufort, Countess of Richmond and Derby, mother of King Henry VII (1488)

The practice was discontinued by King Henry VII, his mother the last Lady of Garter before the appointment of Alexandra of Denmark (wife of Edward VII) in 1901.

  • 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 af the Garter. It wasn’t until 1987 when a statute made it possible for a woman to be installed as a companion.



About Moniek 1042 Articles
My name is Moniek and I am from the Netherlands. I began this website in 2013 because I wanted to share these women's amazing stories.

2 Comments

  1. It would be nice to see the Duchess of Cambridge added here, as the wife of, and mother of heirs, and she does charity work in her own right. Would also like to see posthumous honors to Princess Diana due to her charity work which is easily considered chivalrous. Also, Beatrice and Eugenie would make fine additions to the list. Why do royal and nobly born men get on the list it seems, just by being born male? It should also be assumed that girls will be added to the list and be expected to be chivalrous examples of nobility.

    • excellent comment by Donna. i subscribe completely what you said. Diana still is not given the real value She was for British Monarchy and for all of us an important person. She accomplished a very powerful place in the world with Her smile and touch and, even, fight against land mines, fearless and taking the issue very seriously. She helped all of us. I love Diana. will never forget Her and Her beautiful being and smile

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