There was a buzz in the air as we ascended the steep street, with Windsor castle overshadowing. Security checks: blue tickets entering the chapel spectators with green tickets went up the street.
We found our designated spot surrounded by top hats & fancy clothes, with the sound of the Heathrow planes roaring overhead.
The armed guard marched down lining the route. The band could be heard ascending and passing the gate on the outer wall, the sound rising as they got to the keep for the appointed time of the procession. The chapel doors opened as people slowly queued to go in.
An American accent rose above the general conversation he was a descendant of a Knight of the Garter. Another man weighted with medals explained each one.
Most were silent, waiting, looking; clutching a card invite, inscripted ‘the most Nobel Royal Garter Ceremony’. To remember the day it was time to buy a programme as they waited, a search for the money in the 3-piece suit, as they try to distinguish under dark sunglasses or spectacle between the £5 and £20 notes.
BOOM BOOM; the triumphant sound of the brass bands making their way from the Keep on the hill. It was at this point two stern men with policemen walked by and a thumbs up was acknowledged between them and each police officer.
The atmosphere ecstatic; the noise of voices zero. With the ceremonial music was echoing within the fortress the main gate closed. One band marched beside us, the other marched on past, flags were waving, and cameras were on fire with a great clamour to see the oldest Royal Ceremony in Britain.
With the music still pulsing round the grounds the men with the stick wings passed followed with the Knights of the Garter, to whom belong the Queen, Prince Philip and Charles and others. A cheer rippled down as the queen at the rear was spotted, along with the whisper was ‘look how short she is’. For the first time she was flanked with her son Charles and grandson William, as Philip was still recovering from being in hospital. They were followed up by the beefeater.
As they entered St Georges chapel a fanfare could be heard and the service commenced. This also started the long stream of cars for the members of the garter and other dignitaries as well as the Royal coaches. It was also a rest break for the bands and officers although those who lined the route remained vigilant.
The guards and the band then returned for duty, once again a ceremonial atmosphere was created and the gallop of horses could be heard. The leading coach carried the Monarch with the heir to the throne. One small voice nearby shouted ‘there’s the Queen’ and you could see the smile and look from Prince Charles and the Queen as they share the priceless moment of making a little persons day. They were followed by the other Royal Garter Knights, and then those who where not part of the Royal family followed in the chauffeur cars. The Chapel guests were waiting to cross over and after along wait the gates were opened and Windsor’s streets were filled with dresses, hats and a flurry of movement.
More photos of the event see Jason’s Blog: http://jasonwain.blogspot.co.uk/2013/06/order-of-garter-ceremony.html