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Prince William initiated becomes a Knight of the Garter



*** An official ceremony was held today to appoint the UK's Prince Regent, William, heir to the throne, a Knight of the Garter. The Order of the Garter is an elite medieval Chivalric organisation, whose members wear a uniform bearing the red cross of England upon a white shield, an emblem which dates back to the Knights Templar. The Order of the Garter was officially founded 40 years after the persecution of the Templars began, when the knights were driven underground. ***

William made Knight of the Garter

Prince William has been made a Royal Knight of the Garter, joining the most senior British order of chivalry.

He was officially appointed by the Queen at a service at St George's Chapel in Windsor Castle.

The Order of the Garter - established by Edward III in 1348 - honours those who have contributed to national life or served the Queen.

William becomes a Royal Knight Companion, which recognises his seniority within the Royal Family.

He becomes the eighth member of the Royal Knights and Ladies, joining other members of the Royal Family.

The order also includes seven foreign monarchs, known as Stranger Knights and Ladies.

The Queen chooses the other 24 members, known as Knights and Ladies Companions, without the advice of ministers.

The Queen and the Prince of Wales are members ex officio - they are part of the order by virtue of their royal titles.

William's father, Prince Charles, was appointed in 1958, the Princess Royal in 1994, and the Duke of York and the Earl of Wessex in 2006.

The Duke of Edinburgh was made a Royal Knight in 1947 - the same year he married Princess Elizabeth.

Recent deaths

The numbers of the 24 Knights Companion were depleted recently with the deaths of the conqueror of Mount Everest, Sir Edmund Hillary, and former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath.

Their places have been taken by Lord Luce, Lord Chamberlain from 2000 to 2006, and Sir Thomas Dunne, who has been Lord-Lieutenant of Hereford since 1977 and chairman of the Lord Lieutenants Association.

Former prime ministers are usually made members of the order soon after their retirement from office.

The order already includes former Prime Ministers Baroness Thatcher and Sir John Major.

New members of the order are traditionally announced on St George's Day but the ceremonies take place in June, on the Monday of Royal Ascot week, known as Garter Day.

Prince William, who will be the 1,000th Knight in the Register, wore a blue velvet cape and black velvet hat with white ostrich plumes for a procession from the castle to the chapel.



SOURCE

BBC News, "William made Knight of the Garter", 16 July 2008.
http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7457000.stm



FURTHER READING

Wikipedia, "Order of the Garter"
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Order_of_the_Garter
    ...
    King Edward III founded the Order of the Garter as "a society, fellowship and college of knights."
    The insignia of a knight of the Order of the Garter. 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.
    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). [The present-day Earl of Salisbury, in 2008, is a member of the Order. His estate includes land far beyond Salisbury, most notably he also owns land in the grounds of Hertford Castle (Hertfordshire, UK) where the local government has offices in a building rented from the aristocrat] While she was dancing with or near King Edward at Eltham Palace, her garter is said to have slipped from her leg. 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."), 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. 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 Insider" mailing list article, 16 June 2008.

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