Order of the Garter N/A

The Most Noble Order of the Garter is the oldest and most prestigious order of knighthood in Great Britain. It was formally proclaimed in 1348 by Edward III, and included twenty-five companion knights. Membership today consists of the monarch, the consort, the Prince of Wales, and twenty four companion members, and various supernumerary members (mostly the monarchs immediate family and foreign monarchs), all of whom are appointed by the monarch on Garter Day, the 23rdof April, Saint George’s Day, after whom the order is dedicated.  The spiritual home of the Order is St George's Chapel, Windsor.

On ceremonial occasions members of the Order wear elaborate dress, consisting of a mantle, today made of dark blue velvet, lined with white taffeta.  The heraldic arms of Saint George encircled by the Garter is attached to the left shoulder of the mantle.  Attached to the right shoulder are a dark red velvet hood and surcoat.  The hat is a Tudor bonnet of black velvet with a plume of white ostrich and black heron feathers. The collar is composed of gold heraldic knots alternating with enamelled medallions, attached to the shoulder by white silk ribbons or gold safety pins. Suspended from the collar is the Great George, a three-dimensional figure of Saint George the Martyr on horseback slaying the dragon. The Garter, a buckled dark-blue velvet,strap, is worn around the left calf, and bears the motto “Honi soit qui mal y pense” in gold letters.  A later addition by Charles I is the star, pinned to the breast, depicting the heraldic shield of Saint George, encircled by the Garter, which is itself surrounded by an eight-point silver badge. Another addition by Charles I is the blue riband which traverses the left shoulder down to the right hip.  The badge,suspended from a small gold link from the riband at the right hip, is sometimes known as “the Lesser George".Like the Great George, the badge shows St. George the Martyr on horseback slaying a dragon, but it is flatter and gold.

One legend relating to the origin of the motto refers to the Countess of Salisbury, whose garter slipped from her leg while dancing at court, The sniggering of the courtiers persuaded Edward III to pick it up, and return it to the countess, uttering the words that became the motto of the order.  Another explanation of the derivation of the motto was to support the claim of Edward III to the French throne.

Seat / Residence(s): Saint George's Chapel Windsor Castle
Stamp(s) Stamp Information
Title: Order of the Garter (Stamp 1)
Arms: A cross (Order of the Garter) impaling the arms of William III
Crown: sovereign
Order: Garter
Dimensions (height x width): 88mm x 56mm
Impalement: The arms of William III
Heraldic Charges: cross