WINDSOR, England – Spain’s King Felipe VI was invested on Monday as a knight of the Order of the Garter, one the United Kingdom’s highest levels of royal recognition.
The Bourbon king, accompanied by his wife Queen Letizia, took part in a regal ceremony in the Garter Throne Room at the Windsor Castle royal residence.
He was selected to become a Supernumerary member by the UK’s Queen Elizabeth II.
The Order of the Garter, the most revered and oldest chivalric order in the UK, dates back to the reign of King Edward III of England, who founded it in 1348.
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands was also inducted into the chapter.
In line with traditions, Felipe wore the blue velvet toga and the black Tudor hat with white ostrich feathers and the shield of Saint George, patron saint of England.
The symbol of the order consists of a belt with a blue velvet buckle with the motto of the order in gold lettering: “Honi soit qui mal y pense” (“Shame on him who thinks this evil,” in Middle French).
Queen Elizabeth admitted him to the prestigious order in June 2017 during his state visit to the UK with Letizia.
The Dutch king took part in a state visit the following year.
His admission to the Order of the Garter thirty years after his father, Emeritus Juan Carlos I, was himself invested into the order.
Members of the order gathered in the throne room at the castle near London to take part in the ceremony.
Afterward, Queen Elizabeth, 93, offered a luncheon to the Spanish and Dutch royals.
The UK’s Prince Charles, first in line to the throne, and his wife Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, also took part in the occasion.
Following that, the knights and dames, dressed in traditional garments of the order, marched in procession from the castle grounds to the chapel of St. George for a religious ceremony.
Letizia and Dutch Queen Maxima watched on from the sidelines.
The Order of the Garter historically recognizes courage and loyalty to the crown, inspired by the legends of King Arthur’s Knights of the Round Table.
Felipe VI will join the Supernumerary or “Stranger” role in the order, which is given to European monarchs such as King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden, Harald V of Norway, Beatrix of the Netherlands, Margrethe II of Denmark and former Japan Emperor Akihito.