Lloyd Webber tells of ‘greatest honour’ of life as King makes him a Garter Knight

Lloyd Webber tells of ‘greatest honour’ of life as King makes him a Garter Knight
The King with Lord Lloyd Webber at Dumfries House last year (Sir Clive Alderton/PA)

Composer Lord Lloyd Webber has described being made a Knight Companion of the Order of the Garter by the King as “the greatest honour of my life”.

The theatre impresario, whose hit musicals include The Phantom Of The Opera, Cats, Jesus Christ Superstar and Joseph And The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, said he was “humbled, grateful and, quite frankly, staggered”.

He is said to be the first person from the world of the arts and culture to be made a member of the Order of the Garter – the oldest and most senior Order of Chivalry in Britain.

Royal visit to the Royal College of MusicThe Prince of Wales with Lord Lloyd Webber (Heathcliff O’Malley/Daily Telegraph/PA)PA Archive/PA Images - Heathcliff O’Malley/Daily Telegr

The appointment is the King’s personal gift, without advice from government ministers.

Lord Lloyd Webber composed the anthem Make a Joyful Noise for the King’s coronation last year.

A photograph was released to mark Tuesday’s announcement and showed the musician and the King, taken by Charles’ private secretary Sir Clive Alderton last year at Dumfries House in Scotland while Lord Lloyd Webber was working on the music for the coronation.

It captured the composer sitting at a grand piano in discussion with the King who is standing to the side with a collection of sheet music in his hands.

The Garter honour is usually reserved for those who held public office such as former prime ministers, as well as those who contributed in a particular way to national life, have served the sovereign personally, or are members of the royal family or foreign royals.

King Charles III coronationLabour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Lord Andrew Lloyd Webber and Lady Madeleine Lloyd Webber at the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla (Andrew Matthews/PA)PA Archive/PA Images - Andrew Matthews

“I am humbled, grateful and, quite frankly, staggered to have been made a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter by His Majesty King Charles III,” the composer said.

“This is the greatest honour of my life.”

The other three new appointees to the Garter are Lord Kakkar, emeritus professor of surgery at University College London; Air Chief Marshal the Lord Peach; and, as a Royal Lady Companion, the Duchess of Gloucester who is a long-serving member of the working monarchy and married to the late Queen’s cousin the Duke of Gloucester

The order was founded in 1348 by Edward III.

Order of the Garter Service 2023The King attending the annual Order of the Garter Service at St George’s Chapel (Victoria Jones/PA)PA Archive/PA Images - Victoria Jones

Each year, Royal Knights and Ladies of the Order of the Garter gather at St George’s Chapel in Windsor for a colourful procession and ceremony.

Watched by crowds of onlookers, they walk down the hill to the chapel from the State Apartments, dressed in blue velvet mantles, red velvet hoods, black velvet hats and white ostrich plumes.

The order is limited to 24 ordinary members.

The appointment was announced on St George’s Day as is the tradition, with St George being the order’s patron saint.

The Conversation (0)