Plumed Prince William becomes a knight

BRITAIN’S PRINCE William, wearing an ostrich plumed hat and velvet robes, on Monday was made a Royal Knight of the Garter in a ceremony full of regal pomp.

The prince, second in line to the throne, was formally appointed to the most senior order of British chivalry at Saint George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle, west of London.

William, who turns 26 on Saturday, was watched by his girlfriend Kate Middleton, 26, and brother Prince Harry, 23.

The Most Noble Order of the Garter is the oldest order of chivalry in the world, established in 1348 by the queen’s ancestor king Edward III. William is now a Royal Knight Companion and the 1,000th Knight of the Garter.

Wearing their distinctive white ostrich plumes, blue velvet robes and black velvet hats, the knights and ladies were watched by about 7,000 members of the public as they walked from the castle to the chapel for the church service.

Queen Elizabeth II, William’s paternal grandmother, formally installed the prince as a Royal Knight. She officially presented her grandson with the regalia, including a blue garter, sash, robe or mantle and star during an investiture in the Throne Room at Windsor Castle.

The order has a maximum of 24 non-royal members, personally chosen by the sovereign, who is also a member. It is awarded for outstanding public service and achievement. The queen’s children, Princes Charles, Andrew and Edward and Princess Anne are among the royal members of the order.

Former British prime ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major are members.

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