18 June 2012

The Mantle of the Order of the Garter

The Mantle, worn with the Bonnet and the Collar with Great George
One of the most distinctive pieces of the wardrobe of the Most Noble Order of the Garter - England's highest chivalric order - is the Mantle, sometimes referred to as a robe, cloak, or cape. The Mantle has been used in one form or another, with varying fabrics and colors, since the 15th century. The current version is made of dark blue velvet lined with white taffeta and is accented by a red velvet hood (also lined with white taffeta), elaborate cords for closure, and white ribbons at the shoulders. The Garter Collar, with the Great George as a pendant, is draped over the Mantle across the shoulders.
The Garter Star on the Queen's Mantle
The Queen, as Sovereign of the Order, has a fancier Mantle than the rest of the members: hers has the longest train, which requires two Pages of Honour to manage, and a Garter Star. The rest of the members wear a Mantle with a sewn on patch depicting the heraldic shield of St. George's Cross encircled by the famous blue garter which bears the Order's motto, Honi soit qui mal y pense ("Shame on he who thinks ill of it"). The Queen's Mantle has a bejeweled Garter Star of metal.
The Bonnet
The Knights and Ladies of the Garter also wear a distinctive hat, a Tudor bonnet made of black velvet with a plume of white ostrich and black heron feathers and an ornament depicting St. George's shield surrounded by the garter with the Order motto written on it.

Excluding portrait sittings, the mantle and bonnet are worn only for highly ceremonial occasions, such as the annual Garter Day service at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in June.

Click here for more information on the Order of the Garter from the British Monarchy's official website.
Click here for more on the general use of order insignia in all royal countries from Order of Splendor.

Other Featured Garter Insignia:
The Collar and Great George
The Star, Riband, and Lesser George  
The Garter 

2016: British Red Cross Portrait
13 June 2016: Garter Day
15 June 2015: Garter Day
26 March 2015: Canterbury Cathedral Statue 
16 June 2014: Garter Day
17 June 2013: Garter Day 
April 2013: Recent Portrait Releases
18 June 2012: Garter Day
All Years: The Garter Service

Photos: WPA Pool/Getty Images/Rex Features