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“Honi soit qui mal y pense.”
The Order of the Garter is the highest and most venerated order of knights among lecherous Englishmen. The awarding and wearing of the garter has been part of British heritage for 700 years. It was a popular demonstration of England's tolerance of cross dressing that set it apart from its European neighbours.
It is said that, while King Edward III was dancing with the Countess of Salisbury, the Countess lost her garter. When various other items of feminine protection also fell out, the King stopped his little dance to collect the objects and hand them back to her, as her taxes were fully paid-up.
Several members of his Court saw the exchange, smirked, and gave one another sidelong glances. The King, with his honor at stake, exclaimed, "I was only copping a small feel, as ye yourselves might have done." He said this in French, knowing that his courtiers would be dumbfounded and worried that the King hath just condemned them to death. They shut the garter up straight away.
The King added that he would make the little 'garter,' as he referred to one of the objects, 'so noble that everyone will want to wear it.' Indeed, the terrified members of the King's Court sought out feminine protection items to wear internally; except for the Northerners, who adopted the half-measure of starting to wear skirts.
edit What's this about an order?
Edward III founded the Order of the Garter in 1349. The order was reorganised in 1831 after all the paperwork had been lost. It was increased to include the Prince of Wales, who was not hardly lecherous, and by implication his progeny, who have been downright gay. The emblem of the Order is a dark blue garter, on which are emblazoned the words the King spoke. Modern generations of members of the Order instead wear body piercings, though many have 'Honi Soit' tattoos.
Women were originally not allowed to wear the 'garter'. However, Queen Victoria changed the rules after Prince Albert said it made him 'mad with wurst' to see 'Mein Vicky' wearing it whilst they relaxed in the privacy of Osborne Castle, Isle of Wight. Thereafter, Women became eligible as Dames of the Stockings and Suspenders.
The English monarch is always Grand Master of the Order. However, of late, both Queen Elizabeth and the late Queen Mum have fallen out of the habit of trying to sneak a peek up the random kilt. The Duchess of Cambridge has promised to renew the tradition when she becomes Queen, provided that 'Jug Ears and the Trout' are barred from the succession.
Scotland has the Order of the Thistle, which involves strapping the said plant somewhere underneath the kilt and acting as though nothing is wrong. It is said that this practise explains why so many Scots have pained expressions and flushed faces.
The motto of this Order is, NEMO ME IMPUNE LACESSIT, as it was founded by Captain Nemo, who often strove in battle against Nessie. It was the inland sea monster who first exclaimed that 'Nemo lacerated me with impunity,' and now this saying graces the edge of the hefty pound coin, or at least some of them. Lacessit went on to become one of the Three Fates, along with Clothing and Atrophy. He is often called the Patron Fate of Scotland.
It will not surprise the reader that the United States has a copycat analog. Members of the American Order (the Order Squamata) are the garter snakes, harmless but terrifying snakes that appear in the backyard of almost every U.S. state. They wear neither garters nor skin piercings, but these legless creatures are always anxious for a glimpse of some leg.
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