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Order of the Garter

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Earlier this week King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands made a State Visit to the United Kingdom. During this visit the King was made a Supernumerary Knight of the Garter by Queen Elisabeth II. Here a picture of the King wearing the Garter, toasting with the Queen at the state banquet in Buckingham Palace (ANP photo, permission granted use for non commercial or business purposes).

In the old times, when foreign monarchs or princes were appointed Stranger Knight of the Garter, mostly a special Garter mission was sent to the foreign court to invest the monarch or prince in the Garter, on behalf of the Sovereign. The mission was often headed by a member of the royal family or, especially before the 19th century, by the Garter King of Arms. They carried with them a Commission of Legation written in latin upon vellum, under the Sovereign's sign manual and affixed with the great Seal of the Order. This letter would name and titles of the receipient, and the persons representing the sovereign, giving them the authority to perform the investiture as if the Sovereign was there in person.

I have such a Commission for the investiture of a far ancestor of King Willem-Alexander; Prince William IV of Orange, signed by King George in June 1733. He was invested with big ceremony in The Hague on 22 and 25 July 1733, the Commissioners being the Hon. William Finch, British Minister to Holland (United Provinces) and John Antis, Garter King of Arms. It mentions the Prince's name in latin; Gulielmus Carolus Honrikus Friso (William Charles Henry Friso) Primops Auriati,  Comos Nassovae (Prince of Orange, Count of Nasau). Unfortunately, the Garter seal is missing.

An interesting piece of history of the longstanding relations between the United Kingdom and The Netherlands, that was again confirmed by the visit of our King.

Regards, Pieter





Edited by pieter1012

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