Kate, the Princess of Wales, stuck out like a sore thumb at today’s Order of the Garter ceremony as she was one of the only senior working royals not to wear ceremonial robes and formally take part in the day’s events. Kate, the Princess of Wales, has not yet been installed as a Royal Lady of the Order of the Garter so was not allowed to participate in the service and procession today.
As a result, she stood in her white and black polka-dot Alessandra Rich dress and watched from the sidelines with Sophie while the bulk of senior working royals were out in force for the staple event. Queen Camilla only recently became appointed to the prestigious order, with the late Queen bestowing her the honour last June. And now it’s time for King Charles to install his daughter-in-law – and future Queen – to the order as well.
Her exclusion from one of the most hallowed ceremonies in the royal calendar means she sticks out like a sore thumb and appears a royal outsider, despite her prominent position within the royal ranks. Appointing her to the Order of Garter is only fitting given she is now the Princess of Wales and her and Wiliam have had an increasing workload since other royals have relieved themselves of royal duties. While the honour tends to be reserved to royals born into the Royal Family, and not those who marry into the Firm like Kate, there is a precedent for the spouse of the monarch and heir to be installed into the order.
As already mentioned, Queen Camilla was installed before King Charles become monarch and before her Prince Philip was appointed as a Knight of the Order of the Garter in 1948, the year after his wedding to Princess Elizabeth when he was the spouse of the heir. Elizabeth wouldn’t become Queen for another four years. The late Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother, was appointed to the Order just days after her husband King George VI unexpectedly succeeded to the throne following his older brother Edward VIII’s shock abdication.
But Kate, wife of the future King, is yet to be invited to join the oldest and most senior order of chivalry in Britain. Royal members of the order are also not limited in number, nor do they count towards the limit of 24 which applies to other members. Regardless, the current membership is five shy of the limit even with including the two new installments of Baroness Ashton and Lord Patten. Kate rightly deserves to be recognised with an appointment to the Order of the Garter for her tireless work as a senior member of the Royal Family. She has championed pioneering work on early childhood and campaigns on a number of important causes, such as mental health and sports charities.
The Princess of Wales has also stepped up to the plate since the late Queen’s death and bore more responsibility owing to the Firm’s dwindling number of working royals since Harry and Meghan quit the fold and Andrew was forced to step down.
The King must surely recognise her valuable work in boosting the popularity of the Royal Family too, as Kate often appears top of royal polling. And such a promotion couldn’t come at a better time, as the Firm’s ratings have taken a hit in recent months.