The Most Noble Order of the Garter is a British order of chivalry. It is the world's oldest national order of knighthood in continuous existence and the pinnacle of the British honours system (after the Victoria Cross and George Cross). Its membership is extremely limited, consisting of the Sovereign, the Prince of Wales—both being members ex officio and gaining membership upon acceding to one of the titles—and not more than twenty-four full members, or Companions. Male members are known as Knights Companion, whilst female members are known as Ladies Companion. The Order can also include certain extra members (members of the British Royal Family and foreign monarchs), known as Supernumerary Knights and Ladies. The Sovereign alone grants membership to the Order.