On this day 24th of April 1953
Prime Minister Winston Churchill was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II as a companion of the most noble order of the Garter. The 78-year-old leader of Great Britain in peace and war thus became the 30th living holder of England's oldest and highest honour. Churchill became "Sir Winston" In a colourful ceremony In Windsor Castle's drawing-room. He knelt before his 27-year-old queen who then touched him on the right and left shoulders with a sword. His elevation to the knighthood came eight years after George VI had offered him the same honour. He turned it down, In 1945, reportedly because it would have to be approved by Laborite Prime Minister Clement Attlee. Since 1946, the order has been conferred on the sovereign's initiative, and so its acceptance has no political connotation. COURT SOURCES say it was likely that the queen had prevailed on Churchill to become a knight to add lustre to the coronation year celebrations. There were some reports that Churchill s acceptance indicates he may retire from public life this year. However, his elevation to the knighthood does not affect his status in the House of Commons. Elevation to the peerage would have forced Churchill to give up his Commons seat for one in the House of Lords. Then under great Britain's "unwritten" constitution, probably would have to relinquish the prime minister's post. Churchill's investiture was the first time Queen Elizabeth has knighted anyone with the order of the Garter. The honour is reserved mainly for royalty and high ranking nobility. Among the present holders are the queen, the Duke of Edinburgh, Windsor and Gloucester. The "most noble" order of the Carter was instituted in 1348 by King Edward II. Although Churchill may still be referred to as "Winnie" by most of the English-speaking world, his official title is now even longer man it was previously. The cigar-smoking "Sir Winston", is now: The right honourable Sir Winston Churchill, K G., O. M, C. H., M. P. The first Initials refer to Knight of the Garter, the second to Order of Merit, the third Companion of Honor and the last which many holds he cherishes most deeply Member of Parliament.