Order of the Garter service held at Windsor Castle

Garter Service at Windsor Castle on 18 June, 2012
Image caption The Order of the Garter was founded in 1344 by King Edward III

Hundreds of people have gathered at Windsor Castle in Berkshire to watch the annual Order of the Garter Service.

The Queen was joined by members of her family, including the Duke of Edinburgh and the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

Garter Knights wearing their blue velvet robes and black velvet hats with white plumes processed through the grounds to the chapel of the castle.

This year there were no new members to be installed into the order which is strictly limited to 24 knights.

The Queen appoints the Knights of the Garter without consulting ministers.

She chooses them for their contribution to public life or the Sovereign and they include the former prime ministers Sir John Major and Baroness Thatcher.

The service takes place every June on the Monday of Royal Ascot week, known as Garter Day.

The Order of the Garter was founded by Edward III in 1348 and is the oldest British Order of Chivalry.

Every knight is required to display a banner of his arms in the chapel, together with a helmet, crest and sword and an enamelled stall plate.

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