An Investiture at Buckingham Palace

  February 20, 2009 at 4:58 am by

Wednesday saw The Queen hold one of her favourite ceremonies: An investiture. The form has remained the same since at least the 1910s and is a delightful morning affair.

The ceremony allows those who have received honours form the Crown to have them bestowed by the Sovereign of the Order, following the announcement of the honour in either the New Years list in January or The Queen’s Birthday Honours in June.

Each recipient is entitled to invite three guests to accompany them on their special day. The recipients and their guests are expected to arrive at The Palace (or occasionally at Windsor Castle or the Palace of Holyroodhouse) around 10 a.m. The gests are then conducted to the State Ball Room where they take their seats, while the recipients are taken to an anteroom and rehearsed in the procedure for being presented to The Queen.

At 11 o’clock the assembly stands and The Queen enters the Ball Room accompanied by two Ghurkha orderlies. Everyone remains standing for the National Anthem, and Her Majesty then invites everyone to sit.

The Lord Chamberlain then begins the ceremony proper by announcing the category of the honour (according to the precedence of the Orders) e.g. To be a Dame Commander of The Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George. He then reads out the name of each recipient and a brief explanation of why they have been honoured, for example: Dorinda, Mrs. Long, for services to The Foreign and Commonwealth Office in Russia.

The recipient then approaches The Queen, gentlemen bow and ladies curtsey, they step forward and Her Majesty pins the award to the newly honoured subject. A brief conversation then ensues before The Queen shakes their hand and propels them on their way back. Bows or curtsies are again made and the recipient then leaves the Ball Room and takes his or her seat at the back of the room.

The Queen bestows a knighthood

Click the image for the photo and article at the University of Texas website

The only break from the above form is the case of Knighthoods in the various Orders and Knights Bachelor, who kneel before The Queen and receive the accolade (dubbed by the sword); clergy of the Church of England and honorary Knights do not receive the accolade however. Contrary to popular perception Her Majesty does not announce “Arise Sir”, this is a complete fiction.

Around 120 subjects are honoured at each investiture. The Queen sees investitures as a way to say “thank you” and to hear of the wonderful work carried out by so many people across the United Kingdom and Commonwealth.

At the end of the ceremony the assembly rise and The National Anthem is again played. Her Majesty then departs and everyone moves out into the Quadrangle for congratulations and photographs. The occasion has been for all concerned a wonderful experience and an event they will not forget in a hurry.

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One Response to An Investiture at Buckingham Palace

  1. Harfang says:

    What a wonderful tradition and no doubt an honour for the recipients!

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