Garter, (The Most Noble) Order of the
English order of knighthood founded by Edward III in 1348 and considered the highest British honor. Legend holds that it was created after an incident in which Edward was dancing with the Countess of Salisbury, when one of her garters dropped to the floor. As bystanders snickered, Edward gallantly picked up the garter and put it on his own leg, admonishing the courtiers in French with what is now the order's motto, Honi soit qui mal y pense (Shame to him who thinks evil of it). Membership consists of the British sovereign and the prince of Wales, each with 25 knight companions.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise.
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