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The Order of the Garter
Lady drops Garter & puts King in the Club

King Edward III & the Garter -  Nash Ford Publishing


  • In medieval times, King Edward III of England wanted to be King of France. He wanted be important in Europe. So in 1344 he held a huge tournament at Windsor Castle and made a big announcement.

  • He promised to set up an 'Order of the Round Table' like King Arthur had done. An order was like a special club for knights.

  • He asked knights from all over the country to join it. He wanted 300 of them, so they could help him smash the French.

  • Construction started on a 'Round Table Building' at Windsor Castle. It was a circular arena for the knights to meet in; but it was never finished.

  • In 1346, King Edward's army beat the French at the Battle of Crecy. He was important in Europe now. He didn't need 300 knights to help him.

  • So he decided to set up a much smaller order for the very best knights in England. They would all be his friends.

  • In 1348, the King held a big party at Windsor Castle (though some people say it was in Calais). He danced with the 'Fair Maid of Kent' and she dropped her garter (which kept up her stockings). This was like your knickers falling down today! Everyone was very shocked.

  • King Edward picked up the garter and shouted, "Honi soit qui mal y pense". This is French and means, "Bad things will happen to you too, if you think badly of this". This probably didn't help the lady's embarrassment.

  • The King used the garter as the symbol for his new order of knighthood. He called it the 'Order of the Garter'.

  • It contained the King and 12 friends and his eldest son, the Prince of Wales, and 12 friends: 26 knights all together.

  • The King rebuilt the chapel at Windsor Castle for them to meet in. It became known as St. George's Chapel. He is the patron saint of soldiers.

  • There are still 26 Knights of the Garter today. It is the oldest order of knights in the World. They meet in St. George's Chapel for Garter Day in June every year.


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