18 June 2012

The Collar and Great George of the Order of the Garter

The Queen wearing her Collar with the Marlborough Great George suspended from the center
The Collar of the Most Noble Order of the Garter is a chain of pure gold. The chain is composed of enamel plaques depicting the famous blue garter with the Order's motto, Honi soit qui mal y pense ("Shame on he who thinks ill of it"), surrounding a rose which are separated by gold knots. Different Collars may have slightly varying forms of the plaques and knots. The Collar is worn draped over the shoulders.
Details of two different historical Collars: at left, made for Queen Victoria in 1837; at right, probably made for James II in 1661.
Suspended from the Collar in the front is the Great George, a figurine depicting St. George slaying a dragon from atop his horse. As you might suspect, Garter insignia also includes a Lesser George, which is a badge worn at the hip on the famous blue sash.
The Marlborough Great George
All Great Georges are not the same; some are enamelled, others are bejeweled. The Queen usually wears the Marlborough Great George, which she wore for the Coronation in 1953 and which is covered in diamonds, enamel, and gold. It was made for George IV and was copied from a Great George worn by the 1st Duke of Marlborough, hence the name.  Click here for a look at it on the Royal Collection's website.
On Garter Day (left) and the State Opening of Parliament (right)
Excluding portrait sittings, the Collar and Great George are worn for the annual Garter Day service at St. George's Chapel at Windsor Castle in mid-June (over the Mantle), and for the State Opening of Parliament. It can also be worn on the most formal of occasions with a military uniform.

Click here for more on the general use of order insignia in all royal countries from Order of Splendor.

Other Featured Garter Insignia:
The Mantle and Bonnet
The Star, Riband, and Lesser George 
The Garter

Appearances:
13 June 2016: Garter Day
18 May 2016: State Opening of Parliament
27 May 2015: State Opening of Parliament 
26 March 2015: Canterbury Cathedral Statue
16 June 2014: Garter Day
4 June 2014: State Opening of Parliament 
17 June 2013: Garter Day 
8 May 2013: State Opening of Parliament
18 June 2012: Garter Day
8 May 2012: State Opening of Parliament 
1953: The Coronation 
All Years: State Opening of Parliament 
All Years: The Garter Service

Photos: Royal Collection/Queen Elizabeth II/Getty Images