Emperor Receives Order of the Garter From British King; Charles III Sixth Consecutive Recipient of Japan Order

The Order of the Garter presented by King Charles III to the Emperor in London.

The Emperor was appointed Tuesday to the Order of the Garter, the United Kingdom’s oldest and most senior order of chivalry, while King Charles III was presented with Japan’s most prestigious award, the Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum.

The Order of the Garter has been awarded to five consecutive Emperors since the Meiji era (1868-1912). This is unusual for a non-Christian monarch and demonstrates the strong bond between the United Kingdom and Japan.

Edward III founded the order in 1348, allegedly after an incident in which the king was dancing with a countess and one of her garters dropped to the floor. As bystanders snickered, Edward picked up the garter and put it on his own leg, admonishing the courtiers in French with what is now the order’s motto, “Honi soit qui mal y pense” (“Shame to him who thinks evil of it”).

It consists of a collar, a grand cordon worn over the shoulder, a star-shaped badge and a garter with Edward’s words upon it. In the past, men were said to wear the garter on their left knee and women on their left arm, but recipients do not wear it now.

The British monarch decides who receives the order, and it is open to foreign monarchs as well as the British monarch, royal family and knights. Emperor Meiji received the honor in 1906, just after the Russo-Japanese War. Emperor Showa’s Order of the Garter was revoked in 1941 as war broke out between Japan and the United Kingdom but was restored following a visit to the United Kingdom in 1971.

Japan’s Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum was established in 1888. Recipients of the Supreme Orders of the Chrysanthemum are awarded either a collar or a grand cordon worn over the shoulder, with the collar being the higher honor.

The Grand Cordon of the Order of the Chrysanthemum was presented to Charles, then the prince of Wales, during Emperor Showa’s visit to Britain in 1971. The decision to award the Collar of the Supreme Order of the Chrysanthemum was made at a Cabinet meeting on June 14.

Charles is the sixth consecutive British monarch, beginning with King Edward VII in the Meiji era, to receive such an order from Japan.