Garter Day

Knee deep in details about the Order of the Garter for the book I’ve just submitted to my publisher, I enjoyed watching as today Queen Elizabeth, flanked by Prince Charles and Prince William, led the procession of Knights of the Garter to St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, as she does each year on the Monday of Royal Ascot Week, which is known as Garter Day. St George’s Day, 23 April, is still the date on which new members of the Order are announced, but the ceremonies are not conducted until this day in June.

Nor are there tournaments on St George’s Day.

Nor are the knights’ and ladies’ mantles powdered with tiny blue garters, some with silver gilt buckles. I’ve been thinking a lot about those tiny buckles. They must have been strategically placed so one didn’t sit on them or catch them on sashes, sword belts, etc. If anyone reading this has come across an image that shows the little buckles sewn on the mantles/cloaks, please let me know!

Still, despite all the changes, there were the white ostrich feathers fluttering in the breeze–Edward of Woodstock aka the Black Prince adopted the ostrich feather as his device as Prince of Wales. (I think a peacock feather more apropos for the prince, but there we are, he’s thought to have adopted it as a tribute to the courage of John, the blind King of Bohemia, who went down fighting at Crecy, perhaps slain by Edward himself.) And there was the garter with the famously cryptic motto. I did enjoy watching!

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