Edward VII elevates his nephew, Crown Prince Wilhelm of Germany and Prussia, to the Order of the GarterKing Edward VII Signed Decree for Admittance to the Order of the Garter with Garter Statutes. One partially-printed vellum page, 20.75" x 25.25", "Court at Osborne [Isle of Wight]," January 28, 1901. King Edward had been on the throne six days when he signed this decree, granting "unto Our Dear Great Nephew His Imperial and Royal Highness Prince Frederick William Victor Augustus Ernest, Crown Prince of Germany and Prussia, full power and authority to wear and use the Glory or Star of Silver with Saint George's Cross embroidered within the Garter upon the left part of his Coat, Cloak and upper Garment and also to surround his Coat of Arms with the Garter, and to wear and use the Collar and all other Ornaments . . . and to sit in the Stall that shall be assigned to him in Our Royal Chapel of Saint George at Windsor, and to exercise all the Rights and Privileges belonging to a Knight Companion." The king has signed at the upper left "Edward R." Beautifully illuminated with the arms of the king, the document is stitched onto blue cloth.
Due to the German Empire's involvement during the First World War, Crown Prince Wilhelm of Prussia (1882-1951), the eldest son of German Emperor Wilhelm II, along with six other German and Austrian members, was expelled from the Order of the Garter on May 13, 1915.
An elegant blue leather skippet bearing the arms of the Order, a cross of St. George surrounded by a garter with the motto, "Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense (French: Shame on him who thinks evil of it)," topped by a crown, in gilt on the top, is attached to the decree at the lower edge with a blue and gold cord, contains a perfectly intact, red wax seal of the Order bearing the image of St. George on horseback slaying a dragon on the obverse, the above insignia on the reverse.
With a copy of The Statutes of the Most Noble Order of the Garter. London: 1904. 8vo, xiii; 145 pages. Bookplate of Crown Prince Wilhelm on the front pastedown. Blue leather over boards with insignia of the Order on the front and titles on the spine in gilt. The book contains a history of the order, observations for St. George's day, the officers of the Order, the death of a knight, a list of decrees by monarchs from King Phillip and Queen Mary to Edward VIII, various oaths, etc. Foxed in places.
The royal decree, skippet, and book are housed in a handsome, 12" x 10.5" x 4.25" blue leather box giltstamped with a decorative floral border and "His Imperial and Royal Highness / The Crown Prince of Germany and Prussia / K.G." on the lid. The box is then secured in a matching trifold chemise and placed in a quarter bound leather and cloth slipcase, which shows some light shelfwear.
Founded in 1348 by Kind Edward III, the Order of the Garter is the oldest and most prestigious of the British chivalric orders. Membership in the Order, whose patron saint is St. George, is reserved solely for the sovereign, the Prince of Wales, and twenty-four knights and, from 1509 until the reign of Edward VII, was exclusively male (except in the case that the sovereign was a ruling queen). Membership is at the discretion of the sovereign and is awarded for those who may have held public office or who have served the monarch personally. After admittance, each knight is required to display, in the chapel mentioned above, a banner bearing his or her arms, a helmet, crest, sword, and stallplate. Upon the knight's death, these are taken down, only the stallplate remaining as a memorial.
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