Inside Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, Prince William and Kate's first official joint outing
Why Prince Harry, Meghan Markle, and Kate Middleton Weren't at the Order of the Garter Service
The Queen was accompanied by several royal family members as she led celebrations at the annual Order of the Garter ceremony honoring knights for their public service on Monday. Most notably, she was joined by Order members Prince Charles and Prince William, who donned traditional blue velvet robes and ornate plumed hats to process through the grounds of Windsor Castle, where the Duke and Duchess of Sussex married just last month.
But the newlyweds were notably absent from the day's festivities, as Prince Harry does not belong to the Order, and Meghan Markle won't attend until he is named a member.
"The Duke of Sussex is not a Knight of the Garter and will probably not be invested until his father is King," Marlene Koenig, a British and European royalty expert, explains toBAZAAR.com. "The Duchess of Sussex has never attended and will probably not attend until Harry is named."
William was named a Knight of the Garter in 2008 as the 1,000th knight, according to Koenig, but he is second in line to the throne and that is "one reason why the Queen named him, despite being [so] young." The Duke of York and Earl of Wessex were not named until 2006, when they were in their 40s.
Kate Middleton also skipped out on the event because she has technically been on maternity leave since giving birth to Prince Louis on April 23.
"The Duchess of Cambridge has attended nearly every Garter ceremony since 2011," says Koenig. "She, as Catherine Middleton, and Harry were present in 2008 at William's first appearance as a Knight of the Garter."
Last year's Garter Day was cancelled, as it fell on the same day that Parliament was set to re-open. However, in 2019, Kate attended the annual celebration as a spectator.
The grand tradition of Garter Day dates back to medieval times. King Edward III was "so inspired" by the heroic tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, he set up his own group of heroes in 1348, calling them theOrder of the Garter.
Today, the "oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Britain," as described by Kensington Palace, is open to both men and women who are chosen from "a variety of backgrounds, in recognition for their public service."
The Queen is called the "Sovereign of the Garter" and is personally in charge of choosing members, which includes knights who "have held public office, who have contributed in a particular way to national life or who have served the Sovereign personally," according to the Kensington Palace. Current members include Princes William, Charles, Andrew, and Edward, and Princess Anne, among other knights.
Past members have included Marshal of the RAF Lord Stirrup, and former Prime Ministers Sir John Major and Sir Winston Churchill.
On Garter Day, the Queen and her knights process in grand ceremonial garb at Windsor Castle. It is one of the most traditional events on the Queen's calendar, according to the Palace. Koenig says it's "normal" foronlythe royals who are Order members, and their spouses, to attend the celebration.
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