Fifty-five years ago today, Queen Elizabeth II made Winston Churchill a member of the Order of the Garter, the United Kingdom's highest and most exclusive order of chivalry. It is also the oldest order, founded about 1348 by King Edward III. The motto of the Order, "Honi soit qui mal y pense," is medieval French and means "Shame on him who thinks ill of it." There are only 24 members ("Companions") of the Order of the Garter at any given time, not including the Sovereign and the Prince of Wales. Winston was the fourth Churchill to receive the high honor of admittance to this Order.
It is said that Winnie refused the honor the first time it was offered him -- after his election defeat in 1945 -- explaining that he could hardly accept the Order of the Garter when the nation had just given him the Order of the Boot.