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Their Royal Highnesses attend the annual Garter Service

18th June 2013

The Prince of Wales, The Queen and The Duke of Cambridge at the Garter Service, Windsor Castle

The Prince of Wales, The Queen and The Duke of Cambridge at the Garter Service, Windsor Castle

The Queen was joined members of her family and senior figures for the annual Garter ceremony in the castle grounds at Windsor today.

The service was preceded by the procession of members of the Order of the Garter.

In a touching change with tradition, The Queen, who would normally walk with The Duke of Edinburgh, was flanked by The Prince of Wales and The Duke of Cambridge.

With The Prince on her right and her grandson on her left, she smiled as she walked towards St George's chapel for the service.

Wearing their blue velvet robes and black velvet hats with white plumes, the Royal Garter Knights walked past the thousands of spectators gathered in the grounds of the castle.

Other members of the monarchy who are also Royal Knights or Ladies of the Order and took part in the procession were The Princess Royal, The Duke of York, and The Earl of Wessex.

The Duchess of Cornwall and The Countess of Wessex watched the procession from the vantage point of the Galilee Porch at St George's Chapel as their partners processed past.

The Queen is sovereign of the order and a number of other British and foreign royals are additional knights of the order.

New appointments are announced on St. George's Day but the chivalric and installation ceremonies take place on the Monday of Royal Ascot week, known as Garter Day.

The former head of the UK's Armed Forces Air Chief Marshal Lord Stirrup was invested by The Queen in the Castle's Garter throne room, and later installed as a Knight Companion during the service in St George's Chapel. Recipients of the honour are chosen because they have held public office, contributed to national life or served the sovereign personally. The appointment of Knights of the Garter is in The Queen's gift and is made without consulting ministers.

Other members of the order include former prime minister Sir John Major, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, a past president of the Supreme Court, and Admiral Lord Boyce, a former head of the UK's Armed Forces.

During the service hymns were sung and prayers said for the Order of the Garter.

The Queen was the first to leave the service and she was joined in her carriage by The Prince of Wales and The Duchess of Cornwall.

They drove past squadrons of the Household Cavalry's Life Guards and Blues and Royals who lined the route. Following soon behind were The Count and Countess of Wessex, sitting opposite The Duke of Cambridge and The Duke of York in their carriage.

The crowds cheered as the Royals passed and they were soon joined in the castle by members of the congregation for afternoon tea.