Sydney, Feb.10: Former Australia Prime Minister John Howard may be knighted soon for his contributions to public life in his country. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, speculation is rife that Howard has been personally selected by Queen Elizabeth to receive the Order of the Garter, the most senior and oldest British Order of Chivalry.
Buckingham Palace, however, has refused to confirm or deny the speculation. According to the paper, Howard will have to wait until April 23 to discover if the Queen has chosen anyone to receive the order this year. If selected, Howard will be invited to a special induction ceremony at Windsor Castle in June.
The Order of the Garter was founded by Edward III in 1348 and counts among its elite members 24 knights plus Royal knights. Recipients of the Order are usually people who have held public office and "contributed in a particular way to national life or who have served the Sovereign personally", according to Buckingham Palace's website.
If chosen, Howard would follow in the footsteps of former Australian governor-general Sir Ninian Stephen and former British prime ministers Winston Churchill, Baroness Thatcher and Sir John Major.