The Duke of Cambridge Made a Knight of the Order of the Thistle

  May 28, 2012 at 4:27 pm by

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The Buckingham Palace announced on Friday that the Duke of Cambridge has been appointed a Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle.

Her Majesty’s decision to appoint her grandson to the Order is somewhat unexpected because only three other members of the Royal Family – excluding the Sovereign – are members: Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Princess Anne. It was usually assumed the Queen would appoint her other sons as Knights, The Duke of York and The Earl of Wessex, before bestowing the honour upon any of her grandsons.

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The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is the most senior Order in Scotland and the second-most senior in precedence in the United Kingdom, after only The Most Noble Order of the Garter. The order in its current version was founded in 1687 by James VII and II of Scotland and England, who claimed it was a revival of an earlier Order. The order’s emblem is the thistle – the national flower of Scotland. Its motto is” Nemo me impune lacessit” (“No one provokes me with impunity”). Unlike most other honours, appointments to the Order are entirely in the personal gift of the Sovereign and are not made on the advice of the Government.

The Order consists of the Sovereign, sixteen Knights and Ladies, and extra Knights and Ladies. The last category includes members of the British Royal Family and foreign Monarchs. Currently, Extra Knights and Ladies of the Thistle are The Duke of Edinburgh (since 1952), The Duke of Rothesay (since 1977) , The Princess Royal (since 2000), and the newest addition – The Duke of Cambridge (since May 25, 2012).

The Queen installs the newly appointed members in a private ceremony at the beginning of the Service of the Thistle. When the Queen and Prince Philip arrive, the Chancellor of the Thistle, the Dean of the Thistle and the Secretary of the Thistle lead them to the Signet Library, where Knights and Ladies of the Order have already gathered. Her Majesty then installs new Knights and/or Ladies, and then the procession consisting of the entire party proceeds to Chapel of the Order of the Thistle of St. Giles’ Cathedral, where other parts of the Service take place.

Prince William is already (extra) Knight of the Order of Garter; Queen Elizabeth appointed him to the order in 2008, making him the 1,000th Knight since the order’s creation.

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