Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter was founded in 1348.
King Edward III
was the founder of this order of knighthood. Until this day, the
highest honor the British can bestow upon you is to make you a member
of the Order of the Garter.
With this distinction in your pocket you
are officially allowed to put the title SIR before, and the letters
KG (Knight of the Garter) after your name. Or rather LG (Lady of the
Prince Albert's Garter and
George III's diamond Star
Who Else Is or Was a Member of the Order?
The British ruler and
the Prince of Wales are always members.
Back in the days, existing knights were
allowed to elect new knights but today that is the exclusive
privilege of the British sovereign. The number of knights is limited
to 24, plus Royal knights.
Edward the Black Prince and
John Chandos were founding members. The poster child of
chivalry, Jean de Grailly, was also knighted back in the days
by Edward III himself.
secretary Francis Walsingham was knighted in 1577.
Years' War diplomat Thomas Roe became a member in
1637. Benjamin Disraeli and Robert Cecil were also in.
And then there was
Winston Churchill, who was a bit fussy about his nomination
at first but then he finally accepted it in 1953.
In 1995, New Zealand mountain climber
Edmund Hillary was knighted.
However, being a knight of the Garter
does not guarantee immunity of any sort.
Charles I, for
instance, wore his Order to his execution in 1649.
What is the Motto of
the Order of the Garter?
The Order's motto is Honi soit qui mal y pense, which
is French and means Evil to him who evil thinks.
Everybody has a different idea regarding
why Edward started the Order of the Garter in the first place and
why the knights ended up embracing the slogan above, but the fact of the
matter is that no one knows for sure.
The Club House
In St George's Chapel at Windsor Castle each knight has his own
little space where he displays his name plate, banner, helmet,
crest, and sword. When a knight dies his gear is taken down but his
name plate stays.
Hence, you got quite a few names in the
chapel by now, a who's who of British history's upper crust.
The second highest order of chivalry in Britain is The Most
Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, the society of
the Scottish knights.