Order of the ThistleThe Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle
is an order of chivalry in the British honours system
, associated with contributions to Scotland
. It is the highest order in Scotland, and second only to the Order of the Garter
in the United Kingdom
The date of foundation of the Order is unknown; when it was revived in 1687 by King James VII of Scotland and in 1703 by Queen Anne, it was attributed to a legendary "Achaius, King of Scots". However, historical evidence points to a foundation by James III.
The insignia includes several elements:
- The Collar is a gold chain consisting of representations of thistles alternating with representations of sprigs of rue. It is worn around the neck.
- The Badge Appendant is an enamelled figure of St Andrew bearing his cross, with rays of gold surrounding him in the form of a glory.
- The Mantle is a green velvet coat, with a representation of the Star of the Order on the left shoulder.
- The Badge is two-sided and worn on a green ribbon placed over the left shoulder. On one side is the image of St Andrew bearing his cross. On the other side is an image of a green Thistle upon a green field, surrounded by the motto of the Order.
- The Star is a silver figure of St Andrew's cross, with a ray emerging from each angle of the cross. In the centre is a gold field, upon which is a representation of a green Thistle, which is surrounded with a green circle bearing the motto Nemo me impune lacessit ('No one harms me with impunity') in gold letters.
- The Hat is of black velvet and is plumed with white osprey feathers.
The Order consists of the Sovereign and sixteen knights, plus additional knights admitted by special statute. Also, the Order has four officers: the Dean, the Secretary, the Lord Lyon, King of Arms
(the Order's Officer of Arms
), and the Gentleman Usher of the Green Rod (the Order's usher).