Prince William has been made a Royal Knight of the Garter.

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The future king was awarded the honour – the most senior and oldest British Order of Chivalry – by his grandmother Queen Elizabeth yesterday (22.04.08).

Founded by Edward III in 1348, it is one of the few honours the queen can give without Prime Ministerial advice. William will be officially installed as a Royal Knight Companion of the Order Garter and given his honour by the queen during a private service at Windsor Castle in June.

Afterwards he will take part in a public parade wearing his blue velvet robes and black velvet plumed hat for the first time.

Every knight is also required to display a banner of his arms in the castle chapel, together with a helmet, crest and sword and an enamelled stallplate. The 25-year-old prince – who will become the 1000th knight in the Register – will follow in father Prince Charles’ footsteps who is also a Royal Knight Companion of the Order Garter.

The Order of the Garter was originally intended by Edward III to be reserved as the highest reward for loyalty and for military merit. It is said to have been inspired by events at a ball in France attended by the King and Joan, Countess of Salisbury.

The countess is believed to have dropped her garter, causing laughter. The king picked it up and wore it on his own leg, uttering the phrase “Honi soit qui mal y pense” or “Shame on him who thinks this evil” – now the Order’s motto.

A spokesman for Clarence House said William was “delighted and honoured” at the appointment.