Monday, June 16, 2008

Shame Upon Me for Thinking Evil Upon It.......

When you have grown up in Canada you can't help but read and hear the news about the British royal family. In recent years there has been less devoted attention paid to the royals - but Canadians still follow the comings and goings of the family. Today's news that Prince William was made a Royal Knight of the Garter at a ceremony presided over by his grandmother (Queen Elizabeth) is just one piece of wacky news. What is this Royal Knight of the Garter? And doesn't it sound like something out of Monty Python?

Queen Elizabeth II made William the 1,000th knight to join the order and formally presented him with the regalia, including a blue garter, sash and star brooch. You can read a description of the history of the Order, the costume, the garter (yes, the men wear a blue garter on their left calf) and the whole ceremony here.

The Order of the Garter was established in 1348 and it is the most prestigious, British order of chivalry. The monarch can give the honor to anyone she chooses without advice from government ministers and it is meant to honor those who have held public office, who have contributed to national life or who have served the queen personally. Here is the thing - William, 25, is second in line to the throne after his father, Prince Charles and he is the first-born grandchild of the Queen - but for those who don't believe in the monarchy, the question has to be "what has this kid done to deserve this honour?" Why all the pomp? Why even bother?......... Now that I have denounced the whole process, it should be noted that the garter contains these words: "Honi soit qui mal y pense, old French for "shame upon him who thinks evil upon it."

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