As royal watchers well know, June is a banner month for many of the British Royal Family’s biggest annual events. Just 24 hours after members of the House of Windsor convened at St George’s Chapel for the Order of the Garter ceremony, several more descended on Ascot for the annual horse races that will run through the week. The Queen, a keen horsewoman, has only missed this event once since ascending the throne and this year had the added pizzazz of including King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of The Netherlands.
This year’s Order of the Garter service at Windsor Castle is an especially significant one as the Queen has welcomed King Felipe of Spain and King Willem-Alexander of The Netherlands into the fold. The monarchs were appointed in 2017 and 2018, respectively, and formally invested today as Supernumerary, or ‘Stranger’, Knights of the Garter.
Usually I like to start at the beginning of a day, but for this post we’re going to start with the headline news – the state dinner and the Duchess of Cambridge receiving the Family Order – and work back from there. The big takeaway is that after over seven years of marriage, Kate has finally been given the Elizabeth II Family Order.
Tomorrow King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will kick off a two-day state visit to the UK, during which they will meet with the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, and the Earl and Countess of Wessex. On Tuesday evening the two will also attend a state banquet held in their honor at Buckingham Palace, which will serve as home base while they are in London.