Queen Elizabeth II plans to admit women to two of the country's oldest Orders of Chivalry, the Garter and the Thistle, Buckingham Palace said today.
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348 by Edward III, is the highest order of chivalry in England. Its Scottish equivalent, the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, was revived by James II in 1687.
When wearing ceremonial dress, Knights of the Garter wear a blue garter on their left leg below the knee and Knights of the Thistle wear a green cloak.
"The Queen decided to open the orders to women on her own initiative. The point is that she wanted to remove an element of discrimination," a Buckingham Palace spokesman said.