The Order of the Garter is the oldest and most prestigious order of chivalry in the United Kingdom. It is dedicated to St George, the patron saint of England.
It was founded in 1348 by King Edward III.
The order's emblem is a garter with the motto : "Honi soit qui mal y pense".
Various legends have been presented to explain the origin of the Order. The most popular one involves the Countess of Salisbury, a notable beauty who was rumored to be the king's mistress. While she was dancing with the King, at a court function, her garter is said to have slipped from her leg to the floor. When the King observed the snickers of the courtiers around him, he picked it up and tied it to his own leg, exclaiming "Honi soit qui mal y pense." (Shame on he who thinks evil of this).This remark became the motto of the order.
Recently I was surprised to see a painting with the enblem of the Order in the old All Saints´ Church in Scraptoft.
St George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle was built in the 15th Century to be the spiritual home of the Order of the Garter. It contains one of the best heraldic displays in the world with stall-plates dating back to the 14th century.