Investiture, from the Latin (preposition in and verb vestire, "dress" from vestis "robe"), is a term for the formal installation of an incumbent as the insignia can include the formal dress and adornment (robes of state, headdress etc.) which the etymology refers to, but it extends to other regalia and to a throne or other seat of office. It is used both as a generic term, and for more specific cases as coronation and enthronement.
The term is used to describe the installation of individuals in institutions that usually have been extant from feudal times. For example, the installation of heads of state and various other state functions with ceremonial roles are invested with office. Usually the investiture involves ceremonial transfer of the symbols of the particular office
Judges in many countries, including justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, are invested with their office. American justices typically take two oaths: one to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and the other to apply justice equally. Likewise, university presidents, rectors and chancellors are invested with office.
In the United Kingdom, around 2,600 people are invested personally by Queen Elizabeth II or another member of the royal family each year. A list of those to be honoured is published twice a year, in either the New Year Honours or the Birthday Honours. Approximately 25 investitures are held annually: most in the Ballroom at Buckingham Palace, although the Waterloo Chamber in Windsor Castle and the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh, Scotland, are also used. In 2014 The Prince of Wales held an investiture at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland. Investitures are also held in other Commonwealth realms, when the Governor-General acts on behalf of the Queen.
The term is used in the Scout Association when enrolling a new youth member or an existing member is moving to a different section such as from Cubs to Scouts.
- coronation and anointing, equivalent terms for the assumption of royal office
- enthronement, an equivalent term used for royal and episcopal office
- Investiture controversy of Middle Ages
- Queen Elizabeth investiture (knighting) ceremony at Buckingham Palace.
- Governor-General of New Zealand, Investiture ceremonies.