The Order of the Thistle consists of the sovereign and sixteen knights and ladies, as well as extra knights. The patron saint of the order is St. Andrew and its motto is Nemo me impune lacessit (No one provokes me with impunity) It is the second most senior order of chivalry in Britain.
The foundation date of the Order lies obscured by the mists of time. Some accounts credit it as being founded on the battlefield of Bannockburn by the great Robert the Bruce. Others claim it was established by James V in 1540.
James II issued letters patent "reviving and restoring the Order of the Thistle to its full glory, lustre and magnificency" in 1687. The Chapel of the Order was the Abbey Church at the Palace of Holyrood House, After the destruction of this chapel, for many years the Order possessed none, until one was added to St. Giles High Kirk, Edinburgh in 1911.
The order's cloak is green lined with white taffeta, with green and gold tassels. The star is worn on the left shoulder, the hat is black with white osprey feathers. The badge of the Order of the Thistle, the St. Andrew is hung from a gold collar, it bears a gold enamelled picture of St. Andrew, wearing a green gown and purple cloak and holding a white saltire.
The star of the Order of the Thistle is silver, with St. Andrew's saltire and clusters of rays. In the centre is a green circle bearing the motto in gold, inside the circle is a thistle on a gold background. The star is worn pinned to the left side of the chest. A dark green sash is worn across the body from the left shoulder to the right hip. The badge of the order is attached to a ribbon on the right hip. On its adverse side St. Andrew is depicted, on the reverse, a thistle on a green ground surrounded with the motto.