The Most Noble Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry, or knighthood, originating in medieval England, and presently bestowed on recipients in any of the Commonwealth realms; it is the pinnacle of the honours system in the United Kingdom. Chivalric orders are orders of Knights that were created by European monarchs in imitation of the Military orders of the Crusades. Knight is the English term for a social position originating in the Middle Ages. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland A Commonwealth realm is any one of 16 sovereign states within the Commonwealth of Nations that each have Elizabeth II as their respective Monarch The British honours system is a means of rewarding individuals' personal bravery achievement or service to the United Kingdom. Membership in the order is limited to the sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and no more than twenty-four members, or Companions; the order also comprises Supernumerary knights and ladies (e. A Commonwealth realm is any one of 16 sovereign states within the Commonwealth of Nations that each have Elizabeth II as their respective Monarch Prince of Wales (Tywysog Cymru is a title traditionally granted to the Heir Apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom (and formerly the Kingdom Supernumerary is an additional member of an organization A supernumerary is also non-regular member of a staff a member of the staff or an employee who works in a public office who g. , members of the British Royal Family and foreign monarchs). The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom.
The order's emblem, depicted on insignia, is a garter with the motto Honi soit qui mal y pense (Old French: "shame upon him who thinks evil upon it") in gold lettering. Garters are articles of Clothing: narrow bands of fabric fastened about the leg used to keep Stockings up A motto (from the Italian word motto, meaning witticism sentence is a phrase meant to formally describe the general motivation or intention of a social group " Honi soit qui mal y pense " sometimes rendered as " Honi soit quy mal y pense " " Hony soyt qe mal y pense " " Hony Old French was the Romance Dialect continuum spoken in territories which span roughly the northern half of modern France and parts of modern Belgium Members of the order wear such a garter on ceremonial occasions.
Most British honours encompass the whole United Kingdom, but the top-most three each pertain to one constituent nation. The Order of the Garter, pertaining to England, is senior in age and precedence; The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle pertains to Scotland; and the now-dormant The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick pertains to Ireland. England is a Country which is part of the United Kingdom. Its inhabitants account for more than 83% of the total UK population whilst its mainland The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is an Order of chivalry associated with Scotland. Scotland ( Gaelic: Alba) is a Country in northwest Europethat occupies the northern third of the island of Great Britain. The Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick is a British Order of chivalry associated with Ireland.
King Edward III founded the Order of the Garter as "a society, fellowship and college of knights. Edward III (13 November 1312 &ndash 21 June 1377 was one of the most successful English monarchs of the Middle Ages. "
The foundation year is usually presumed to be 1348, although dates from 1344 to 1351 have been proposed. The King's wardrobe account shows Garter habits first issued in the autumn of 1348. Regardless, the Order probably was not established before 1346; its original statutes required that each member already be a knight (what would now be referred to as a knight bachelor) and some of the initial members were only knighted that year. The rank of Knight Bachelor is a part of the British honours system. 
Various legends account for the origin of the Order. The most popular legend involves the "Countess of Salisbury" (probably either his future daughter-in-law Joan of Kent or her former mother-in-law, Catherine Montacute, Countess of Salisbury). Joan Countess of Kent ( September 29, 1328 &ndash August 7, 1385) known to history as The Fair Maid of Kent, was the first Catherine Montacute Countess of Salisbury (c 1304 &ndash November 23 1349) was an English noblewoman remembered for her relationship with King While she was dancing with or near King Edward at Eltham Palace, her garter is said to have slipped from her leg. Eltham Palace is a large house in Eltham, within the London Borough of Greenwich, South East London, England; it is currently owned by English When the surrounding courtiers sniggered, the king picked it up and tied it to his leg, exclaiming, "Honi soit qui mal y pense," ("Shamed be the person who thinks evil of it. A courtier is a person who attends the court of a Monarch or other powerful person. "), the phrase that has become the motto of the Order.  According to another legend, King Richard I was inspired in the 12th century by St George the Martyr while fighting in the Crusades to tie garters around the legs of his knights, who subsequently won the battle. Richard I (8 September 1157 &ndash 6 April 1199 was King of England from 6 July 1189 until his death In Christian hagiography Saint George is one of the most venerated saints in the Anglican Church, Eastern Orthodox Church, Oriental Orthodox The Crusades were a series of military campaigns of a religious character waged by much of Christian Europe against external and internal opponents King Edward supposedly recalled the event in the 14th century when he founded the Order.  Another explanation is that the motto refers to Edward's claim to the French throne, and the Order of the Garter was created to help pursue this claim. The use of the garter as an emblem may have derived from straps used to fasten armour. 
Soon after the founding of the Order, women were appointed "Ladies of the Garter," but were not made companions. King Henry VII discontinued the practice in 1488; his mother, Margaret Beaufort, was the last Lady of the Garter before Queen Alexandra. Lady Margaret Beaufort ( May 31, 1443 &ndash June 29, 1509) of the House of Lancaster was the mother of King Henry VII of Alexandra of Denmark (Alexandra Carolina Marie Charlotte Louise Julia 1 December 1844 – 20 November 1925 was Queen Consort to Edward VII of the United Kingdom Except for female sovereigns, the next Lady of the Garter named was Queen Alexandra, by her husband King Edward VII. Alexandra of Denmark (Alexandra Carolina Marie Charlotte Louise Julia 1 December 1844 – 20 November 1925 was Queen Consort to Edward VII of the United Kingdom King George V also made his consort, Queen Mary, a Lady of the Garter and King George VI subsequently did the same for his wife, Queen Elizabeth. Mary of Teck (Victoria Mary Augusta Louise Olga Pauline Claudine Agnes 26 May 1867 – 24 March 1953 was the queen-empress consort of George V of the United Kingdom Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon (Elizabeth Angela Marguerite 4 August 1900 &ndash 30 March 2002 was the Queen Consort of King George Throughout the 20th century, women continued to be associated with the Order, but except for foreign female monarchs, they were not made companions.  In 1987, however, it became possible to install "Ladies Companion of the Garter" under a statute of Queen Elizabeth II. For the ship see RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Context States headed by Elizabeth II 
Membership in the Order is extremely limited and includes the monarch of the Commonwealth realms, the Prince of Wales, not more than 24 companion members, and various supernumerary members. The Most Noble Order of the Garter is an English order of Chivalry. A Commonwealth realm is any one of 16 sovereign states within the Commonwealth of Nations that each have Elizabeth II as their respective Monarch A Commonwealth realm is any one of 16 sovereign states within the Commonwealth of Nations that each have Elizabeth II as their respective Monarch Prince of Wales (Tywysog Cymru is a title traditionally granted to the Heir Apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom (and formerly the Kingdom The monarch alone can grant membership.  He or she is known as the Sovereign of the Garter, and the Prince of Wales is known as a Knight Companion of the Garter. 
Male members of the Order are titled "Knights Companion," and female members are called "Ladies Companion. " Formerly, the Sovereign filled vacancies upon the nomination of the members. Each member would nominate nine candidates, of whom three had to have the rank of Earl or higher, three the rank of Baron or higher, and three the rank of Knight or higher. Earl was the Anglo-Saxon form and jarl the Scandinavian form of a title meaning " Chieftain " and referring especially to chieftains Baron is a specific Title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin (liber Knight is the English term for a social position originating in the Middle Ages. The Sovereign would choose as many nominees as were necessary to fill any vacancies in the Order. He or she was not obliged to choose those who received the most nominations. Candidates were last nominated in 1860, and appointments have since been made by the Sovereign acting alone, with no prior nominations. The statutes prescribing the former procedure were not amended, however, until 1953. 
From the 18th century, the Sovereign made his or her choices on the advice of Government. However, King George VI believed that the Order of the Garter and the Order of the Thistle had become too linked with political patronage. In 1946, with the agreement of the Prime Minister and the Leader of the Opposition, membership in these two orders became a personal gift of the Sovereign. Thus, the Sovereign personally selects Knights and Ladies Companion of the Garter, and need not act on the advice of Government. 
In addition, the Order includes supernumerary members, who do not count towards the limit of 24 companions. Supernumerary is an additional member of an organization A supernumerary is also non-regular member of a staff a member of the staff or an employee who works in a public office who Several supernumerary members, known as "Royal Knights and Ladies of the Garter", belong to the royal family. The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. These titles were introduced in 1786 by King George III so that his many sons would not count towards the limit on the number of companions. George III (George William Frederick 4 June 1738 George III's long reign was marked by a series of military conflicts involving his kingdom much of the rest of Europe and places He created the statute of supernumerary members in 1805 so that any descendant of King George II could be installed as such a member. George II (George Augustus 10 November 1683 &ndash 25 October 1760 was King of Great Britain and Ireland, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg ( In 1831, this statute was extended again to include all descendants of King George I. George I (George Louis German Georg Ludwig; 28 May 1660 &ndash 11 June 1727 For the first year of his life George was the only heir to his father's and three childless 
With the installation of Emperor Alexander I of Russia in 1813, supernumerary membership was extended to foreign monarchs, who are known as "Stranger Knights and Ladies of the Garter". Alexander I of Russia ( Russian: Александр I Павлович / Aleksandr I Pavlovich (23 December 1777 – November 19 1825 served as Emperor of Russia (Россия Rossiya) or the Russian Federation ( Rossiyskaya Federatsiya) is a transcontinental Country extending  Each such installation originally required the enactment of a statute; however, a 1954 statute authorises the regular admission of Stranger Knights or Ladies without further special enactments. 
The Sovereign may "degrade" members who have committed serious crimes, such as treason. In Law, treason is the Crime that covers some of the more serious acts of disloyalty to one's sovereign or Nation. During the First World War, several Stranger Knights who were monarchs of enemy nations had their memberships revoked. World War I (abbreviated WWI; also known as the First World War, the Great War, and the War to End All The appointments of Emperor Wilhelm II of Germany and Emperor Franz Joseph I of Austria were annulled in 1915. Franz Joseph I Karl (- German, in English Francis Joseph I Charles, see the name in other languages) (18 August 1830 &ndash 21 November  The membership of Emperor Hirohito of Japan was removed after Japan entered World War II, but he was reappointed after the war by Elizabeth II. also known as, (April 29 1901 – January 7 1989 was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order reigning from December 25 1926 until his death World War II, or the Second World War, (often abbreviated WWII) was a global military conflict which involved a majority of the world's nations, including For the ship see RMS Queen Elizabeth 2 Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary Context States headed by Elizabeth II (Thus, Hirohito was uniquely made a Knight of the Garter by two different Sovereigns. also known as, (April 29 1901 – January 7 1989 was the 124th Emperor of Japan according to the traditional order reigning from December 25 1926 until his death )
Descendants of Knights of the Garter may join the Society of the Friends of St George's & Descendants of the Knights of the Garter as Descendant Member. The Friends Companions and Descendants of the College of St George is a constituent group of the Foundation of the College of St George, Windsor Castle which
The Order has six officers: the Prelate, the Chancellor, the Register, the Garter Principal King of Arms, the Usher, and the Secretary. Garter Principal King of Arms is the senior King of Arms, and the senior Officer of Arms of the College of Arms.  The offices of Prelate, Register and Usher were created on the order's establishment; those of Garter Principal King of Arms and Chancellor, in the 15th century; and that of Secretary, in the 20th century. A coat of arms or armorial bearings (often just arms for short in European tradition is a design belonging to a particular person (or group of people 
The office of Prelate is held by the Bishop of Winchester, traditionally one of the senior bishops of the Church of England. A prelate is a high-ranking member of the Clergy who either is an Ordinary or ranks in precedence with ordinaries See also List of bishops of Winchester The Bishop of Winchester is the head of the Church of England The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England, the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican  The office of Chancellor is now held by one of the companions of the order. For most of its existence, the Bishop of Salisbury has held the office, although laymen held it from 1553 to 1671. The Bishop of Salisbury is the Ordinary of the Church of England Diocese of Salisbury in the Province of Canterbury. The term " layman " originated from the use of the term Laity, but over the centuries changed definition to mean a person who is a non-expert in a given field of In 1837, after boundary changes made Windsor Castle fall in the diocese of Oxford, the Chancellorship was transferred to the Bishop of Oxford. Windsor Castle, in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, is the largest inhabited Castle in the world and dating back to the time of In many rites of the Roman Catholic Church and in Anglican churches, a diocese is an administrative territorial unit administered by a Bishop. The Bishop of Oxford is the diocesan Bishop of the Church of England Diocese of Oxford in the Province of Canterbury; his seat is at Christ A century later, the Bishop of Salisbury challenged this transfer, on the grounds that the Chancellorship had been attached to his office regardless of the diocese in which the chapel of the order lay; and that, in any event, St George's Chapel, as a Royal Peculiar, was not under diocesan jurisdiction. A Royal Peculiar (or Royal Peculier) is a place of worship that falls directly under the jurisdiction of the British monarch, rather than a Diocese The office of Chancellor was removed from the Bishop of Oxford (the outgoing bishop had been outspoken in the abdication crisis), and has since been held by one of the Knights Companion.  Since 1937, the following members have held the post of Chancellor:
The office of Register has been held by the Dean of Windsor since 1558. William John Arthur Charles James Cavendish-Bentinck 6th Duke of Portland KG GCVO PC TD ( December 28 1857 &ndash April Edward Frederick Lindley Wood 1st Earl of Halifax, KG, OM, GCSI, GCMG, GCIE, PC ( 16 April 1881 &ndash Robert Arthur James Gascoyne-Cecil 5th Marquess of Salisbury, KG PC ( August 27, 1893 &ndash February 23, 1972) was a Charles John Lyttelton 10th Viscount Cobham, KG, GCMG, GCVO, TD, PC ( 8 August 1909 &ndash 20 March Lt-Col Sir John Henry Guy Nevill 5th Marquess of Abergavenny KG OBE ( November 8 1914 &ndash February 23 2000) was a Peter Alexander Rupert Carington 6th Baron Carrington and Baron Carington of Upton  The Garter Principal King of Arms is ex officio the senior officer of the College of Arms (the heraldic authority of England), and is usually appointed from among the other officers of arms at the College. Garter Principal King of Arms is the senior King of Arms, and the senior Officer of Arms of the College of Arms. C D E The College of Arms, or Heralds' College, is an office regulating Heraldry and granting new Armorial bearings for England, Wales Heraldry in its most general sense encompasses all matters relating to the duties and responsibilities of officers of arms. An officer of arms is a person appointed by a sovereign or State with authority to perform one or more of the following functions to control and initiate  As the title suggests, Garter Principal King of Arms has specific duties as the Order's officer of arms, attending to the companions' crests and banners of arms, which are exhibited in the chapel. The Secretary, who acts as deputy to Garter in the ceremonial aspects of the Order, has since 1952 also been selected from the other officers of the College of Arms.  The office of Usher is held by the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, who is also the Serjeant-at-Arms of the United Kingdom House of Lords (although his functions are more often performed there by his deputy, the Yeoman Usher). The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, generally shortened to just Black Rod, is an official in the parliaments of a number of Commonwealth countries A Serjeant at Arms (also spelled Sergeant at Arms, and sometimes Serjeant-at-Arms) is an officer appointed by a Deliberative The House of Lords is the second house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom and is also commonly referred to as "the Lords"
At the founding of the Order of the Garter, 26 "poor knights" were appointed and attached to the Order and its chapel. The Military Knights of Windsor are retired military officers who receive a Pension and accommodation at Windsor Castle, and who provide support for the This number was not always maintained, and by the 17th century, there were only thirteen such knights. King Charles II increased the number to eighteen after his coronation in 1660. Charles II (Charles Stuart 29 May 1630 – 6 February 1685 was the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland. After the knights objected to being termed "poor", King William IV redesignated them in the 19th century as the Military Knights of Windsor. William IV (William Henry 21 August 1765 &ndash 20 June 1837 was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until The Military Knights of Windsor are retired military officers who receive a Pension and accommodation at Windsor Castle, and who provide support for the 
The poor knights were impoverished military veterans, required to pray daily for the Knights Companion. In return, they received a salary and lodging in Windsor Castle. The knights are no longer necessarily poor, but are still military pensioners. They participate in the Order's processions, escorting the members, and in the chapel services. However, they are not considered knights or members of the Order. 
For the Order's ceremonial occasions, such as the annual Garter Day, the members wear elaborate vestments and accoutrements (accessories):
On other occasions when decorations are worn, the members wear simpler insignia:
On the death of a member, the badge and star are returned personally to the Sovereign by the former member's nearest male relative, and the other insignia to the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood. The Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood is a small office within the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom responsible for the 
For ceremonial occasions of the Order, the officers wear the following garments and accessories:
The chancellor carries a purse, which is embroidered with the royal arms impaled by the Cross of St. George. The purse contains the seal of the Order. Garter Principal King of Arms carries his baton of office. The usher carries his staff of office, the Black Rod. The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, generally shortened to just Black Rod, is an official in the parliaments of a number of Commonwealth countries 
The poor knights originally wore red mantles, each of which bore St George's Cross, but did not depict the Garter. Queen Elizabeth I replaced the mantles in the 16th and 17th centuries with blue and purple gowns, but the red mantles returned in the 17th century under King Charles I. Charles I, (19 November 1600 &ndash 30 January 1649 was King of England, Scotland and Ireland from 27 March 1625 until his execution. When the knights were renamed, the mantles were abandoned. The military knights now wear the old military uniform of an "army officer on the unattached list": black trousers with red stripe, a red double-breasted swallow-tailed coat, gold epaulets and brushes, a cocked hat with a plume, and a sword on a white sash. In Clothing, double-breasted refers to a coat, jacket or similar garment having a very wide overlap in the front and two parallel columns of Buttons A tailcoat is a coat with the front of the skirt cut away so as to leave only the rear section of the skirt known as the tails. Gold (ˈɡoʊld is a Chemical element with the symbol Au (from its Latin name aurum) and Atomic number 79 Epaulette (ˈɛpǝlɛt is a French word meaning "little shoulder" (from épaule, meaning "shoulder" The cocked hat is a style of formal Headgear, or Hat, worn by certain civilian military and naval officials from the mid- 19th Century The hackle is a Feather Plume (most plumes are made of Horsehair that is attached to the Headdress. 
Members are assigned positions in the order of precedence, coming before all others of knightly rank, and above baronets. An order of precedence is a sequential hierarchy of nominal importance of items A baronet (traditional abbreviation Bart, modern abbreviation Bt) or the rare female equivalent a baronetess (abbreviation Btss) is the holder The wives, sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of Knights Companion are also assigned precedence. Relatives of Ladies Companion are not, however, assigned any special positions. (Generally, individuals can derive precedence from their fathers or husbands, but not from their mothers or wives. ) The Chancellor is also assigned precedence, but except for the period between 1553 and 1671 when the office was held by a layman who was not necessarily a member of the Order, this precedence has been purely theoretical. As a member of the Order, the Chancellor has a higher precedence than that attached to the office, and when the office was filled by a diocesan bishop of the Church of England, the holder again had a higher precedence by virtue of that office than any that the chancellorship could bestow. The Church of England is the officially established Christian church in England, the Mother Church of the worldwide Anglican 
Knights Companion prefix "Sir" and Ladies Companion prefix "Lady" to their forenames. Wives of Knights Companion may prefix "Lady" to their surnames, but no such privilege exists for husbands of Ladies Companion. Such forms are not used by princes and peers, except when peers' names are written out in their fullest forms. 
Knights and Ladies Companion use the post-nominal letters "KG" and "LG" respectively.  When an individual is entitled to use multiple post-nominal letters, those of the Order of the Garter appear before all others except "Bt" (Baronet), "VC" (Victoria Cross) and "GC" (George Cross). A baronet (traditional abbreviation Bart, modern abbreviation Bt) or the rare female equivalent a baronetess (abbreviation Btss) is the holder See below the section "Separate Commonwealth awards" Note that since The George Cross ( GC) is the highest Civil decoration of the Commonwealth of Nations. 
The members may encircle their arms with the Garter, and, if they wish, with a depiction of the collar as well.  However, the Garter is normally used alone; the more elaborate version is seldom seen. Stranger Knights and Ladies do not, of course, embellish the arms they use in their countries with English decorations.
Knights and Ladies Companion are also entitled to receive heraldic supporters, a privilege granted to few other private individuals. In Heraldry, supporters are figures usually placed on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up While some families claim supporters by ancient use, and others have been granted them as a special reward, only peers, Knights and Ladies Companion of the Garter, Knights and Ladies of the Thistle, and certain other knights and ladies are automatically entitled to them. 
The Order of the Garter once held services at St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, but they became rare in the 18th century. Windsor Castle, in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, is the largest inhabited Castle in the world and dating back to the time of Windsor Castle, in Windsor in the English county of Berkshire, is the largest inhabited Castle in the world and dating back to the time of The Garter services, discontinued in 1805, was revived by King George VI in 1948, and it has become an annual event. Each June, on the Monday of Royal Ascot week, the members of the Order, wearing their ceremonial vestments and insignia, meet in the state apartments in the Upper Ward of Windsor Castle. Ascot Racecourse is an English racecourse located in the village of Ascot, Berkshire used for Thoroughbred horse racing. Insignia (the plural of Latin insigne: emblem symbol is a Symbol or Token of personal power, Status or Office They process on foot, led by the Military Knights of Windsor, through the castle to St George's Chapel for the service. The Military Knights of Windsor are retired military officers who receive a Pension and accommodation at Windsor Castle, and who provide support for the If there are any new knights, they are installed on this occasion. After the service, the members return to the Upper Ward by carriage. A carriage is a wheeled vehicle for people usually horse-drawn 
Medieval scholars have pointed to a connection between the Order of the Garter and the Middle English poem, "Sir Gawain and the Green Knight". Sir Gawain and the Green Knight is a late 14th-century In "Gawain", a girdle, very similar in its sexual undertones to the garter, plays a prominent role. A rough version of the Order's motto also appears in the text. It translates from Middle English as "Accursed be a cowardly and covetous heart. "
While the author of the poem remains disputed, there seems to be a connection between two of the top candidates and the Order of the Garter. Scholar J. P. Oakden has suggested that it is someone related to John Gaunt who was the Duke of Lancaster, and, more importantly, a member of the Order. Another competing theory is that the work was written for Enguerrand de Coucy, seventh Sire de Coucy. Sire de Coucy was married to King Edward III's daughter, Isabella, and was given admittance to the Order of the Garter on their wedding day. "