16 JUNE 2008

After indulging in one of his favourite pursuits - polo - over the weekend, there was an altogether more formal event on Prince William's agenda on Monday. In a historic ceremony the second-in-line to the throne was appointed the 1,000th Royal Knight of the Garter - the most senior British order of chivalry - by his grandmother the Queen.

The honour is traditionally given to those who have held public office, have contributed to national life or who have served the Queen personally. William has become one of the order's Royal Knight Companions, which recognises his seniority within the royal family.

Flanked by two 'supporter' knights - his father Prince Charles and his grandfather the Duke of Edinburgh - and clad in the traditional blue velvet cape and a black ostrich plume-adorned hat, Wills was officially appointed at a service at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.

The 25-year-old royal arrived at the chapel during a procession watched by his elegant girlfriend Kate Middleton, younger brother Prince Harry, the Duchess of Cornwall and the Countess of Wessex.

Earlier the Queen had invested him with the order in the Castle's Garter Throne Room, placing a blue sash over his left shoulder as a page held an ancient blue velvet garter - which Edward III wore when establishing the order in 1348 - to his knee.

Photo: © Alphapress.com
Wearing the traditional Garter robes William joins other members of his family in a procession through Winsdor Photo: © PA
Photo: © Alphapress.com
On hand to share Wills' proud moment was his elegant girlfriend Kate, who - joined by the Duchess of Cornwall and the Countess of Wessex - shared a joke with fun-loving Prince Harry Photo: © PA