Thousands watch as Royal Family attends Windsor parade

(L-r) The Duke of York, Prince William and the Earl of Wessex during the procession of the Order of the Garter in Windsor The Duke of York, Prince William and the Earl of Wessex took part in the event

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Thousands of spectators turned out to watch as the Royal Family took part in an annual parade at Windsor Castle.

The Queen, Duke of Edinburgh, Princess Anne, Duke of York, Prince William and the Earl of Wessex all took part in the Order of the Garter ceremony.

A service followed to honour members of the order, which includes 23 companion knights who wore blue velvet robes and a St George's Cross.

The order is Britain's oldest and most senior order of chivalry.

Absent prince

It was founded by King Edward III in the 14th Century to include the Prince of Wales and 24 knights - membership is still limited to that number.

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh leave the ceremony

The Prince of Wales was absent due to a chest infection, while Baroness Thatcher attended, but did not take part in the procession.

Former British Prime Minister John Major also took part.

Marching bands provided music as soldiers lined the route from the castle's quadrangle to St George's Chapel, where the service was held.

Public places to view the procession were allocated by a public ballot.

Chapter clerk at St George's Chapel, Charlotte Manley, said: "It's a wonderful day of pageantry and glorious sights and glorious sounds, but beneath that is the symbolism of duty to service and country."

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