Royal Order of the Garter
The Order of the Garter Star
The completed coronet and crests now in position above the Knights helms in St George's Chapel Windsor.
The Windsor Beasts
The Order of the Garter is the most senior and the oldest British Order of Chivalry and was founded by Edward III in 1348. The Order, consisting of the King and twenty-five knights, was intended by Edward III to be reserved as the highest reward for loyalty and for military merit. Like The Prince of Wales (the Black Prince), the other founder-knights had all served in the French campaigns of the time, including the battle of Crécy - three were foreigners who had previously sworn allegiance to the English king: four of the knights were under the age of 20 and few were much over the age of 30. The origin of the emblem of the Order, a blue garter, is obscure. It 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. Those watching this were apparently amused, but the King admonished them saying, 'Honi soit qui mal y pense' (Shame on him who thinks this evil). This then became 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, and that the motto could well have referred to critics of Edward's claim to the throne of France.
The Queen's Role: Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter
Royal Order of the Garter from Wikipedia