Members of the Royal Family are attending the celebrations for the centenary of the Royal Air Force today. The day starts with a service at Westminster Abbey.
The Royal Air Force was founded on 1 April 1918. The RAF is the world’s oldest independent air force: that is, the first air force to become independent of army or navy control. After being the strongest air force on the planet shortly after World War I, the RAF had to fight for its survival in the inter-war years. In World War II, the RAF was rapidly expanded. A defining period of the RAF existence was during the Battle of Britain. They held of the German Luftwaffe during a summer long air battle over Britain and the North Sea to prevent Britain from being conquered by the Germans too. After the Battle of Britain, the main RAF effort during the war was the strategic bombing campaign against Germany. After the war, the RAF was reorganized again. At the time, the technology in air warfare was greatly advancing and the RAF needed the newest technology to play its part in the Cold War. They are still active today at many places in the world.
Her Majesty the Queen, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are attending the service at the Abbey today.
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The Queen and Members of the Royal Family were present today for Garter Day 2018, held at Windsor Castle.
In medieval times, King Edward III was so inspired by tales of King Arthur and the chivalry of the Knights of the Round Table that he set up his own group of honourable knights, called the Order of the Garter. The Most Noble Order of the Garter was founded in 1348. Nearly 700 years later, the Order is the oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Britain. The Knights include senior members of the Royal Family, and others, who are personally chosen by the Queen in recognition for their public service. There are four types of Knights:
- Members ex officio (the British monarch and the Prince of Wales)
- Royal Knights (members of the Royal Family)
- Stranger Knights and Ladies (foreign Kings and Queens)
- Knights and Ladies Companion (others, maximum amount is 24)
If there are vacancies in the Knights and Ladies Companion, new appointments are announced on St. George’s Day (23 April).
Every year in June, Garter Day is held. On this day, The Queen and the Knights process in grand velvet robes, insignia and plumed hats to St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle. On the morning of Garter Day, new Knights will by formally invested by The Queen formally with the Order’s insignia in the Throne Room of the Castle.
Royal Knights and Ladies include the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, the Earl of Wessex and the Duke of Cambridge. The Duchess of Cambridge probably won’t be invested in the Order until she becomes Queen. The Duke of Kent and the Duke of Gloucester, and Princess Alexandra are also Knights.
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One of the most important annual events for the Royal Family is Trooping the Colour, which is taking place today! It marks the official birthday of the British Sovereign and is held on a Saturday in June every year. The event starts with the Queen and members of the Royal Family travelling down the Mall in carriages. The Queen is in the last carriage to depart from Buckingham Palace. Her carriage is preceded by three other carriages. The Duchess of Cornwall, the Duchess of Cambridge and the Duke of Sussex usually sit in one carriage together (or at least, they have been together with the three of them for the past seven years). This year, the Duke and Duchess of Sussex were seated with the Duke of Kent in the second carriage, while the Duchess of Cornwall and the Duchess of Cambridge were in the first carriage to depart.
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It’s Royal Wedding Day! Following the arrival of more than 600 guests this morning, the Wedding Ceremony started at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor at noon. Many members of the Royal Family were in attendance, including the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh. They were last to arrive before the bridesmaids and the pageboys with their mothers, and finally the bride. After climbing the steps of St. George’s Chapel, Meghan moves in procession through the Nave where she is joined by The Prince of Wales. He accompanied her on the second half of her walk to the High Altar, where she met the groom, the Duke of Sussex.
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The Royal Family is attending The Queen’s Birthday Party Concert at the Royal Albert Hall tonight. Her Majesty is celebrating her 92nd birthday today. The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust is the major beneficiary of event. Her Majesty is Patron of the Trust, that champions, funds and connects young leaders who are working hard to make a difference in the world. The leaders of the 53 Commonwealth nations, who were in London this week for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, are at the concert as well.
The concert is broadcasted live on the BBC tonight. Usually, the Queen is not celebrating her birthdays in public on this day in April (except for her ‘special’ birthdays, such as her 80th and 90th), but during Trooping the Colour on a Saturday in June. ‘Special’ birthdays are often celebrated with events in June too instead of April, since the weather is much better. However, Her Majesty made an exception tonight and is celebrating her birthday inside the Royal Albert Hall with her family by her side. Performers include Kylie Minogue and Tom Jones.
A list of members of the Royal Family in attendance tonight:
- Her Majesty the Queen
- The Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall
- The Duke of Cambridge
- Prince Harry and Ms. Meghan Markle
- The Princess Royal and Vice Admiral Sir Timothy Laurence
- Peter and Autumn Phillips
- The Duke of York
- Princess Eugenie of York and Jack Brooksbank
- Princess Beatrice
- The Earl and the Countess of Wessex
- Lady Louise
- Princess Alexandra
- The Duke and the Duchess of Gloucester
- The Prince and the Princess Michael of Kent
- Lady Sarah Chatto and David Chatto
- The Lord and Lady Frederick Windsor
- Numerous unidentified cousins from the extended Royal Family
As expected, the Duchess of Cambridge is not attending the concert tonight. She is only days away from giving birth to her third child and is on maternity leave since the end of March. She last appeared in public on Easter Sunday when attending a church service with the Royal Family in Windsor. However, it is expected that we will see her somewhere in the next 10 days with a baby in her arms on the steps of the Lindo Wing!
Prince Harry, as President of The Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, gave a speech at the concert tonight. After the speech, the Queen appeared on the stage with Prince Charles, who also gave a short speech for his mother.
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