Charles and Camilla attend service for Order of the British Empire

It's the first time the service has taken place in the reign of Charles III

Today, The King and Queen attended a Service of Dedication for the Order of the British Empire at St Paul’s Cathedral.

The couple beamed upon arrival, with His Majesty waving to the crowds who had gathered outside the Cathedral in the City of London to see the display of traditional regalia.

Charles and Camilla were met at the iconic church by the Lord Mayor of the City of London, Alderman Professor Michael Mainelli. The couple were then greeted by the Dean, the Chapter and officials of the Order, before taking their place in the procession.

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Charles and Camilla were wearing magenta cloaks – the Mantle of the Order of the British Empire – with Charles also donning his naval uniform, whilst Camilla opted for a floral red and cream Fiona Clare dress.

The cloaks are crimson silk-lined with pearl grey silk ties. The Star of the Order of the British Empire is located on the left chest, with the collar of the Order worn over the top of the mantle, with the one on Camilla’s mantle having belonged to the late Queen Mother.

It was Charles’ first service as Sovereign of the Order. (St Paul’s Cathedral)

The Service of Dedication for the Order of the British Empire takes place every four years, with today’s service becoming the first since Charles acceded to the throne in September 2022.

St Paul’s houses the official Chapels of both the Order of St Michael and St George and the Order of the British Empire, much like St George’s Chapel is the spiritual home for the Order of the Garter. The Chapel – also known as the All Faith’s Chapel – can be found in the Crypts of the Cathedral.

Almost 2,000 members who are holders of the Orders awards, including CBEs, OBEs and MBEs, gathered to attended the Service, with the congregation consisting of people from across the UK and Commonwealth.

The Order of the British Empire was established by George V in 1917 to honour those who had contributed to efforts during the war. The Order was later expanded to reward contributions wider society such as the Arts, Sciences, Charitable work and Public Service.

The congregation during the service. (St Paul’s Cathedral).

As King, Charles is the Sovereign of the OBE, while The Queen is the Grand Master of the OBE. Camilla was appointed Grand Master just last month. Previous office holders included The Duke of Edinburgh (1953-2021), Queen Mary (1936-1953) and George VI as Prince of Wales (1917-1936).

Today’s outing for The King comes after a number of public-facing engagements in recent weeks, following the announcement that doctors have allowed Charles to carry out duties whilst still undergoing cancer treatment.

Charles and Camilla in their mantle cloaks. (St Paul’s Cathedral).

Recently, His Majesty has officially handed over the role of Colonel-in-Chief of the Army Air Corps to The Prince of Wales and unveiled a new portrait of himself at Buckingham Palace; the painting was commissioned to mark the Charles’ 50 years as a member of The Drapers’ Company.

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