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The Queen's heartfelt gift to Duchess of Cornwall revealed

A real honour

The Queen has bestowed a special honour to the Duchess of Cornwall, making her a Royal Lady of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. The appointment, which was announced by the palace on Friday evening, will come into effect on 1 January.

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At the same time as honouring her daughter-in-law, the monarch also appointed The Right Honourable Valerie Ann, Baroness Amos C.H. to be a Lady Companion, and The Right Honourable Anthony Charles Lynton Blair to be a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.

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Knights of the Garter are chosen personally by the Queen to honour those who have held public office, those who have contributed in a particular way to national life, or those who have served the sovereign personally. Such honours are made in the gift of the Queen, without the need for Prime Ministerial advice.

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The Most Noble Order of the Garter, which was founded by King Edward III in 1348, is ranked as the highest British civil and military honour obtainable.

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Prince Charles and the Queen at the Order of the Garter ceremony in 2019

The reigning sovereign and the Prince of Wales, in this case Camilla's husband Prince Charles, are always members of the order and the maximum number of members is 24. Friday's three new appointments bring the number of Companions to 21.

The annual iconic Garter Day procession is normally held every June, although the ongoing coronavirus pandemic has scuppered proceedings for the past two years.

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Camilla pictured at the 2019 event

The Windsor event sees the Queen and her Knights process in grand velvet robes, glistening insignia and plumed hats. The procession is accompanied by a marching band and Officers of the Order, all in grand ceremonial dress.

The day begins with the Queen formally investing any new Companions with the Order's insignia in the Throne Room of Windsor Castle – in this case, new members like Camilla. Members and officers then sit down for lunch before processing on foot to a service in St. George's Chapel where new Companions are installed.

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