The Queen has made two appointments to the Order of the Garter on the occasion of St George’s Day.
Her Majesty has appointed Dame Mary Fagan to be a Lady Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter, and the Viscount Brookeborough to be a Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.
The order was founded in 1348 by Edward III and is England’s highest honour.
There can only be 24 appointees at any one time. The appointment of Dame Mary and Viscount Brookeborough brings the total number up to 22 meaning there are only two further vacancies.
Dame Mary Fagan, DCVO served as Lord-Lieutenant of Hampshire between 1994 and 2014 and was also Chancellor of the University of Winchester from 2006 until 2014.
Alan Henry Brooke, 3rd Viscount Brookeborough has served as Personal Lord in Waiting to The Queen since 1997 and has been Lord Lieutenant of Co. Fermanagh, Northern Ireland since 2012. He served with HM Armed Forces between 1971 and 1994, with 17th/21st Lancers, the Ulster Defence Regiment and the Royal Irish Regiment.
Founded in 1348 by King Edward III, who was “so inspired by the tales of King Arthur and the chivalry of the Knights of the Round Table”, the Order of the Garter was a group of honourable knights.
A legend persists that Edward III was dancing with a woman when her garter fell to the floor. As courtiers around him laughed, the King picked up the garter and replaced it, uttering the Order’s motto: “Honit soit qui mal y pense” – “Shame on him who thinks this evil”.
The woman’s identity has never been confirmed, but the three accepted possibilities are Joan, Fair Maid of Kent, his daughter-in-law; Katharine Grandison, Countess of Salisbury; or his wife, Queen Philippa of Hainault.
In modern times, members of the Order are chosen for their public service instead of their aristocratic background, and at any given time there can only be 24 knights (in addition to the Sovereign). The Sovereign and the Prince of Wales are always members of the Order of the Garter.