Military Knights of Windsor

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"Poor Knights" redirects here. For the islands in New Zealand, see Poor Knights Islands.
Military Knights of Windsor in the procession to the annual service of the Order of the Garter
"Poor Knights of Windsor" is also a name for eggy bread or French toast.

The Military Knights of Windsor are retired military officers who receive a pension and accommodation at Windsor Castle, and who provide support for the Order of the Garter and for the services of St. George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. They are commanded by a senior retired officer as Governor of the Military Knights of Windsor.


The Military Knights of Windsor were constituted by King Edward III following the Battle of Crécy, when many knights captured by the French were forced to liquidate their estates to raise ransom money in order to secure their release. Formerly called Alms Knights (until 1833) [1] they were often informally described as the Poor Knights. At the original establishment of the Order of the Garter twenty-six were appointed and attached to the Order and its chapel at St. George's Chapel, Windsor. King Henry VIII halved their number to thirteen, Elizabeth I re-founded the order in 1559.[2] At his restoration, King Charles II increased the number to eighteen. King William IV renamed them the Military Knights of Windsor.

Poor Knights were originally impoverished military veterans. They were required to pray daily for the Sovereign and Knights Companions of the Order of the Garter; in return, they received a salary and were lodged in Windsor Castle. Today the Military Knights, who are no longer necessarily poor, but are still military pensioners, participate in the Order's processions, escorting the Knights and Ladies of the Garter, and in the daily services in St. George's Chapel. They are not members of the Order itself, nor are they automatically a knight of any chivalric order.

External links[edit]

Media related to Military Knights of Windsor at Wikimedia Commons


Coordinates: 51°29′0″N 0°36′28″W / 51.48333°N 0.60778°W / 51.48333; -0.60778