William has now become a Royal Knight Companion of the Order Garter, just like his father, pictured here June 17th 1958 at Windsor Castle, wearing the traditonal Garter Knight’s ceremonial cap and jacket
Prince William, 25, is appointed a garter knight by the Queen
By REBECCA ENGLISH
Prince William was awarded his first major royal honour yesterday when the Queen appointed him a garter knight.
Founded by Edward III in 1348, the Order of the Garter is the most senior and the oldest British Order of Chivalry and is one of the few honours in the Queen’s gift to give without Prime Ministerial advice.
The second-in-line-to-the-throne will be officially installed as a Royal Knight Companion of the Order Garter and given his insignia by his grand-mother during a private service at Windsor Castle in June.
Afterwards he will take part in a public parade wearing his blue velvet robes and black velvet plumed hat for the first time.
Every knight is also required to display a banner of his arms in the castle chapel, together with a helmet, crest and sword and an enamelled stallplate.
Although the honour is merely a ceremonial one, it is, nonetheless, a significant step for the future king who will leave the military next January to become a full time working royal.
William, 25, will become the 1000th Knight in the Register and joins his grand-father, the Duke of Edinburgh and father, Prince Charles.
There are also 24 companions of the order, an honour given to those who have held public office, who have contributed in a particular way to national life or who have served the Sovereign personally.
These currently include Lady Thatcher and Sir John Major.
In recent months there has been speculation that former Prime Minister Tony Blair would join their number, but royal sources said it was too early for him to be appointed.
The Order of the Garter was originally intended by Edward III to be reserved as the highest reward for loyalty and for military merit.
The origin of the emblem of the Order is a blue garter.
This is said to have been inspired by an incident which took place whilst the King danced with Joan, Countess of Salisbury.
The Countess’s garter fell to the floor and after the King retrieved it he tied it to his own leg.
The King told off the onlookers, saying, “Honi soit qui mal y pense” (Shame on him who thinks this evil).
This is the motto of the Order.
Modern scholars think it is more likely that the Order was inspired by the strap used to attach pieces of armour, however.
A spokesman for Clarence House said William was “delighted and honoured” at the appointment.