Kate Middleton joins royal family at the Order of the Garter service

The Duchess of Cambridge, neé Kate Middleton was joined by the Countess of Wessex on Monday at the Order of the Garter service.

As the 24 Knights of the Order of the Garter made their way through the grounds of Windsor Castle wearing full regalia, among their numbers were Prince William, Prince Charles, the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex.

Queen Elizabeth II and the Duke of Edinburgh followed them into St George's Chapel.


Duchess of Cambridge and the Countess of Wessex

The Duchess of Cornwall, Camilla, was unable to attend due to sinusitis, Clarence House confirmed.

Kate continued her tradition of recycling her favourite outfits, wearing a custom-made blue Christopher Kane coat which she wore to the Opening Ceremony of the 2012 London Summer Olympics, and nude-coloured heels.

The elegant Duchess also donned a Lock & Co hat in the same hue as her coat, while the Countess wore a short-sleeved white dress with a fur stole and pale pink hat.


The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh

Kate and Sophie watched the procession go by from underneath a canopy as the weather threatened to turn from sun to rain.

Hundreds of spectators watched as the Garter Knights processed through the castle grounds to the chapel.

The oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry, the Order of the Garter honours those who have held public office, have contributed to national life, or have served the monarchy personally.


Princes William and Charles

After many years of the Order being chosen based on recommendation from government, it has now returned to its original function, as a sign of being favoured by royalty.

There can only be 24 knights at any one time and on Monday two new members of the Order were given the honours: Mervyn King, the former governor of the Bank of England, and Eliza Manningham-Buller, ex-head of MI5.