Queen to make William Knight of the Thistle to mark his 30th birthday
Represents the highest honour the Queen can bestow in Scotland
00:41 GMT, 29 May 2012
The Queen has awarded her grandson, Prince William, one of her highest orders of chivalry to mark his 30th birthday next month.
The future king is to be made a Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle.
Appointments to the Order of the Thistle are entirely in the personal gift of The Queen and are not made on the advice of the Prime Minister, as are most other Honours.
Honour: The Queen is to make Prince William a Knight of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle to mark his 30th birthday
The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle – whose motto is Nemo Me Impune Lacessit, No one provokes me with impunity – represents the highest honour the Queen can bestow in Scotland.
It is another sign of the prince’s gradual introduction into becoming a full-time senior working royal, although for the time being he will continue to work as an RAF Search and Rescue pilot in North Wales.
Duty: William will continue to work as an RAF Search and Rescue pilot in North Wales
Revived by King James VII, the Order has a complement of 16 Knights, who have the letter KT after their name. In 1987, The Queen decided that ladies should also be eligible for the Thistle in the same way as men.
William, 29, who is known as The Earl of Strathearn north of the border, will be formally welcomed into the order in a ceremony at Holyroodhouse Palace in Edinburgh in the next few weeks.
Other Royal Knights of the Thistle include the Queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Charles and Princess Anne.
The Order of the Thistle is second only in precedence in the UK to the Order of the Garter, which Prince William is already a member of.
The Order honours Scottish men and women who have held public office or who have contributed in a particular way to national life.
The date of the foundation of the Order is not known, although legend has it that it was founded in 809 when King Achaius made an alliance with the Emperor Charlemagne.
It is also possible that the Order may have been founded by James III, who was responsible for changes in Royal symbolism in Scotland, including the adoption of the thistle as the Royal plant badge, in the early 1500s.
The patron saint of the Order of the Thistle is St Andrew, the patron saint of Scotland, who also appears on the Order's badge.
Highest honor: The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh, attend the service of the 'Installation of the Knights of the Thistle' at St Giles Cathedral in Edinburgh in 2003
The breast star of the Order consists of a silver saltire with a pointed ray between each of the arms of the cross.
At the centre is a gold medallion contained in an enamelled representation of the thistle, surrounded by a green border bearing the Order's motto.