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Art Print

noirette (noirette)

British Chivalric Order of Garter Motto Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense

by Noirette

Collect your choice of gallery quality Giclée, or fine art prints custom trimmed by hand in a variety of sizes with a white border for framing.


This quote seems strange but it's Old French (Evil be to him who evil thinks) and has survived from the 12th century as the motto of the Order of The Garter, the "noblest" British chivalric order. If you're familiar with paintings or the history of Britain's monarchy you will be familiar with silk garters or sashes and even diamond pins embroidered in gold with this motto.

How did this motto come about? The story is that in the 12th century, the unusual and lively King Edward III was dancing with his cousin, the beautiful Joan of Kent, when suddenly her garter fell to the floor. To her embarrassment, other members of court were whispering and snickering. The king immediately picked up the garter and said, "Honi Soit Qui Mal Y Pense!" which translates roughly to "shame upon him who thinks evil upon it", or "evil to him who thinks evil" And he immediately put the garter on his own leg and continued dancing. That's right. And so, chivalry was born.

I've always loved this motto for its simplicity, its history, and its inherent truth. I designed this typographic treatment. Enjoy.