Garter and cream the order of the day at Windsor

Garter will
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge watches as Britain's Prince William passes during the annual Order of the Garter service at St. George's Chapel in Windsor on Monday. (Reuters)

It doesn't get much more royally British than this ... the Order of the Garter service at Windsor Castle.

Garter willkateFor the uninitiated, this is an Order that goes back to 1348, when King Edward III decided to assemble a group that defined chivalry. Since then, it has been one of the more exclusive regal clubs, with just 24 members. Only the monarch can decide who belongs in the club. Not surprisingly, the members of the Royal Family are front and centre, though it is not limited to them.

Every year the group meets for lunch and a service at St. George's Chapel, witnessed by about 7,000 specially invited members of the public. And, of course, the proper number of trumpeters and footmen. Much pomp ensues.

The members of the Order are spectacularly dressed with their blue velvet robes and plumed hats, though equally eye-grabbing on Monday were the three royal wives on the sidelines -- Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Kate, Duchess of Cambridge and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. They obviously discussed their outfits beforehand, all dressed in cream-coloured outfits and waiting in the shade of the tent while their men passed by (in this case, Princes Edward, William and Charles).

Kate, stylish as usual, wore an Alexander McQueen coatdress that was last viewed in public at the 2011 Trooping the Colour ceremony. She topped it off with a Jane Corbett hat. All the women appeared to wearing LK Bennett nude shoes. It all seemed a million miles from the wardrobe Kate was wearing on the weekend for a little time around the campfire with kids.

Some admiring glances on Monday were also reserved for Prince Philip, who continues to defy his 91 years. Despite the obviously heavy garb of the Order and warm weather, he made the long trek to the Chapel with the Queen.

Garter kate
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge does a few adjustments to Prince William's robes after attending the annual Order of the Garter Service at St. George's Chapel on Monday in Windsor. (Getty Images)

Garter view
Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip and other members of the Royal Family walk from Windsor Castle to King George VI chapel for the Order of the Garter ceremony. (Getty Images)

Garter ladies
Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall enjoy some royal chat as they watch their husband's pass by wearing lavish blue velvet robes and black velvet hats with white plumes, during the procession of The Most Noble Order of the Garter. (AP)

Garter queen
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip lead the way to St. George's Chapel for The Order of the Garter ceremony.  It is the oldest British Order of Chivalry, founded by Edward III in 1348. Membership in the order is limited to the sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and no more than 24 members. (Getty Images)


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Looks like a Monty Python moment all around.

It's halloween everyday for these pompous clowns.

She's a beautiful girl, but dresses like a granny. Those hats? OY. Those pleats she wears. OY. Come on Kate....dress your age!

What is with royal women and their stupid hats? Why do they always have to have a hat on? Between hats and the usual woman's shoes I can imagine the size of their walk in cupboards.

What is wrong with you people? Duchess Catherine dresses impeccably and elegantly and timelessly! She dresses in a way that age does not matter! Taste and decorum is not defined by age. Class is something you are born with; it is not learned or acquired. Catherine has class and good taste and I have to say, I love her style and her mix-match is really fun. Stop criticizing her clothes, and the fact that she prefers some shoes to others. The Queen does the same thing. I am 62, going on 63 and I can dress like Catherine, because we both have good taste, regardless of our age difference. Kudos to Catherine, the Duchess of Cambridge!!

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