The Order of the Garter is the world's most ancient order of chivalry and was founded by King Edward III.
The origins of the Garter as the order's emblem and for its motto, Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense, will probably never be ascertained with certainty, but legend relates that it began at a ball, when Edward III's dancing partner, perhaps Joan, Countess of Salisbury, dropped her garter to her great embarrassment. The King is said to have chivalrously retrieved it and tied it round his own leg, uttering in French "Evil to him who thinks evil of it".
The patron saint of the Order is St. George and its home St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle. The sovereign alone can grant membership.
For ceremonial occasions, members wear the full vestments of the Order. A dark blue mantle or cloak, lined with white taffeta, with a red hood. The mantle bears the shield of St. George's Cross. The Garter Star is pinned to the left side of the chest, it is an enamelled heraldic shield of St. George's Cross encircled by a garter, which is encircled by an eight point silver badge. A black velvet hat decorated with white ostrich and black heron feathers is also worn.
The gold collar bears knots and enamelled medallions showing a rose encircled by the garter. The George, an enamelled figure of St. George and the dragon is worn suspended from the collar. The ribbon, a wide blue sash, is worn over the left shoulder to the right hip. On its base is a badge showing St. George and the dragon. The garter itself, a buckled dark blue velvet strap with the motto of the Order is worn on the left calf by knights and the left arm by ladies.