Tony Blair: Protesters gather at knighthood ceremony in Windsor
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Stop the War protesters marched in Windsor as former Prime Minister Sir Tony Blair received his knighthood at the annual Order of the Garter Service at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle. Sir Tony Blair was appointed to the oldest and most senior British Order of Chivalry as a Knight Companion, and the honour prompted a noisy protest outside the castle walls by around 100 Stop the War activists who at one point chanted “Tony Blair war criminal”. Protesters were also filmed holding placards with “Bliar” on them.
Sir Tony walked with Baroness Valerie Amos who joined the Order as a Lady Companion.
The Labour Peer, the first black person to become a Cabinet member, is now also the first black person appointed to the Order.
The appointment, which is made by the Queen, has regularly been bestowed upon past prime ministers, with Sir John Major, Sir Tony’s predecessor, the last to receive the honour.
Upon accepting the knighthood in January, Sir Tony said: “It is an immense honour to be appointed Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, and I am deeply grateful to Her Majesty the Queen.
“It was a great privilege to serve as prime minister and I would like to thank all those who served alongside me, in politics, public service and all parts of our society, for their dedication and commitment to our country.”
Sir Tony led New Labour to a landslide victory in 1997, winning two subsequent general elections before quitting Westminster a decade later, paving the way for his chancellor Gordon Brown to take over as prime minister.
The 68-year-old famously branded Diana, Princess of Wales, the “people’s princess” after her death and was the UK leader during Allied military invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.
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The former barrister became a Middle East envoy and set up his own non-for-profit group, the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change, after leaving politics.
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.
Sir Tony, who left Downing Street more than 14 years ago, is one of three new appointments announced by the palace.
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A former John McTernan has previously listed Sir Tony’s previous achievements.
Speaking to LBC, Mr McTernan said: “They’ve honoured Tony Blair because he was a great Prime Minister.
“I notice you make no attempt to deny the achievement of peace in Northern Ireland.”
LBC presenter Andrew Castle interjected: “You’ve had at least four minutes before I gave you the results of the Chilcot Inquiry!
“I think that’s a fair and balanced view.”
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