The Cathedral served as Chapel to “The Most Illustrious Order of the Knights of Saint Patrick” from 1783-1869.
The Choir stalls of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral once served as a Chapel to “The Most Illustrious Order of the Knights of Saint Patrick.” This organisation was founded by King George III of England in 1783. It was an order of chivalry and the title of “Knight of the Order” was given to its members.
The ceremonies for the investment (introduction) of new knights into the order took place in Saint Patrick’s Cathedral until 1869. Members of noble Irish families swore loyalty to the King in order to be installed as Knights of the Order. One particularly famous event took place in 1842, when Prince Albert of Saxe-Coberg-Gotha (husband of Queen Victoria) was installed into the Knights of Saint Patrick in the Cathedral.
After the disestablishment of the Church of Ireland in 1869 the ceremonies moved to Saint Patrick’s Hall in Dublin Castle. Today the banners and hatchments relating to families who were members of the Order at the time of this change are still on display in the choir stalls of the Cathedral.
The creation of Knights declined dramatically after Ireland gained its independence from Great Britain and the last surviving Knight died in 1974. Technically the Order still exists today with only its head (Queen Elizabeth II of England) and one officer (Ulster King of Arms) as members.
Installation of the Prince of Wales (1869)
One of the most famous ceremonies to take place in the Cathedral was the installation of Albert Edward (Later Edward VII, King of the United Kingdom). This event was the first major ceremony to take place in the Cathedral following its full (and to some, controversial) restoration by Benjamin Lee Guinness from 1860-65.
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