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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The Duchess of Sussex accompanies the Queen today for a visit to Cheshire. The pair traveled to Cheshire overnight on the Royal Train. The nine-carriage train is used by the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall around 15 times annually. The Queen prefers the train as her mode of transport for destinations further away from London in the UK. Before arriving in Cheshire this morning, the Queen and the Duchess had breakfast together on the train, and it was no doubt nice for both of them to spend some time together. It is the first time Meghan joins Her Majesty for official engagements, and it is the first time that Meghan attends an official engagement without her husband. The two Royal women arrived at Runcorn Station this morning.
On arrival at the train station, the Duchess confirmed that it is her first visit to the north of England. She added that ‘she is very happy to be here’.
The Queen will open the new Mersey Gateway Bridge over the River Mersey. The Queen and the Duchess met with architects, planners and community representatives. Afterwards, they watched a dance performance by local children.
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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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In the past year, we’ve seen more and more jewels from the Royal vaults on the Duchess of Cambridge. In this blog post, we feature every piece of jewellery on loan from Her Majesty the Queen to the Duchess of Cambridge.
The list will be updated when the Duchess wears new pieces of jewellery from the Royal vaults or if she rewears pieces again.
Cartier Halo Tiara
This tiara was a gift from King George VI to Queen Elizabeth (then known as the Duke and Duchess of York), the Queen Mother, just before they became King and Queen. The tiara was made by Cartier in 1936 from diamonds and platinum. The piece was given to their daughter Princess Elizabeth as an 18th birthday gift in 1944, but she has never been pictured wearing it. She loaned it to her sister Princess Margaret and her daughter Princess Anne, when they were young. The tiara was not seen for several decades, until she loaned to ms. Catherine Middleton to wear for her wedding to the Queen’s grandson.
Worn by the Duchess on:
- 29 April 2011, wedding to prince William, London
Lotus Flower Tiara
This tiara was made by Garrard from a necklace, which was a wedding present to the Queen Mother from her husband, the future King George VI. The Queen Mother wore the tiara in her early years as the Duchess of York, and gave it to her daughter Princess Margaret in 1959. She loaned it to her Serena Stanhope for her wedding to Margaret’s son, Viscount Linley, in 1993. In 2002, the tiara returned to the Royal vaults after Margaret’s death, and it was not seen again until 2013 on the Duchess of Cambridge.
Worn by the Duchess on:
- 3 December 2013, reception for the Diplomatic Corps, London
- 20 October 2015, state banquet for the President of China, London
Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara
The Cambridge Lover’s Knot Tiara was made by Garrard in 1913 by Queen Mary. Queen Mary modeled her new tiara off of a tiara owned by her grandmother, Augusta, Duchess of Cambridge, who she admired very much. After Queen Mary’s death in 1953, Queen Elizabeth II inherited the tiara. She wore the tiara in public several times in the 1950s. It was not seen for several decades, until she loaned it to the Princess of Wales. The tiara became an iconic piece of jewellery on her in the 1980s and 1990s. After her divorce, the tiara returned to the Royal vaults. Many did not expect to see the tiara again soon, because it was so closely associated with Diana. However, in 2015, the Duchess of Cambridge debuted the piece, loaned to her by the Queen.
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