A member of the Scottish Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle
. This is the Scottish equivalent of the English Knight of the Garter
, meaning that only Scottish nobles (16 at any time, to be precise) may ever hold this title. The Knights of the Garter are the only Order to hold precedence over the Knights Thistle. The Knighthood
has been open to female membership
since the late 1800's.
The banners of the Order are hung in the Chapel of the Order in St. Giles' Cathedral, Edinburgh. The reigning monarch is the Sovereign of the Order, and St. Andrew's Day, November 30th, is the Day of the Order. Initiations to the Order take place during the week spent by the Queen in Holyrood
A Knight of the Thistle may decorate himself with a plain green circle around the arm, trimmed with gold, and bearing the words, "Nemo me impune lacessit." This is also the motto of four regiments of the British Army: The 2nd Dragoons (Royal Scots Greys), Scots Guards, 21st Fusiliers, and the Black Watch (41st Foot Regiment).
The full insignia of this Order of Chivalry includes:
- The Badge Appendant: a golden image of St. Andrew in a green habit and purple surcoat, bearing a white enamelled Cross of St. Andrew, all surrounded by golden rays.
- A golden collar, featuring alternating green enamelled sprigs of pine, and thistles with white enamelled heads.
- A star, made of a cross and four-pointed star, in the center of which is a gold medallion with a green enamelled thistle surrounded by a green enamelled band bearing the Order's motto.
- A green riband, worn over the left shoulder
- An Investment Badge, made up of a gold oval with a picture of St. Andrew holding his cross before him at the center, bearing the Order's motto on the surrounding band.
Membership within the Knighthood would be denoted in writing with the letters K.T.
, much as one might note a Ph.D.
. That is:
Clockwork McGrue, K.T.
Very rarely, a foreigner will be introduced into the Order. This person holds the privilage of using the letters K.T., but cannot be called "Sir" or "Lady."