The Queen is the Sovereign of the Order of the Thistle and appointments made to the Order are entirely in her personal gift. The Order has a maximum complement of 16 Knights (KT) plus Royal Knights, who are currently Prince Philip, Prince Charles, Princess Anne, and Prince William.
The Order of the Thistle is Scotland’s great order of chivalry, and membership is considered one of the country’s highest honours. The Order is traditionally given to Scots or people of Scots ancestry, who have given distinguished service.
The installation ceremony took place at St Giles’ Cathedral this morning with the official blessing in the Thistle Chapel. Sir Ian had, earlier in the week, a private audience with the Queen at Holyrood Palace to receive the Collar and Star of the Order.
This high honour from the Queen adds to Sir Ian’s award of a Knight Grand Cross two years ago, which is the highest rank in the Order of the British Empire and is awarded very rarely and for exceptional services to the nation. It is believed that Sir Ian is the only person in Scotland to hold both a KT and GBE.