Published 23 April 2005

THE FOLLOWING ANNOUNCEMENT IS ISSUED BY THE PRESS SECRETARY TO THE QUEEN

The Queen has been graciously pleased to appoint the Lord Bingham of Cornhill and the Right Honourable John Major, CH, to be Knights Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.

The Queen has also been graciously pleased to appoint Lady Soames, DBE, to be a Lady Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter.

The appointment of the Knights and Ladies of the Garter is in The Queen's gift (that is to say without Prime Ministerial advice). Appointments to the Order of the Garter are therefore in the same category as the Order of the Thistle, the Order of Merit and the Royal Victorian Order which are also in The Queen's gift.

Members of the Royal Family are additional to the established number of 24 Companions. The Duke of Edinburgh was created a Knight in 1947, The Prince of Wales in 1958, The Duke of Kent in 1985, The Princess Royal in 1994, The Duke of Gloucester in 1997 and Princess Alexandra in 2003.

The Lord Bingham of Cornhill has been the Senior Lord of Appeal in Ordinary since 2000.

John Major was leader of the Conservative administration and Prime Minister from 1990 to 1997.

Lady Soames, the youngest daughter of Sir Winston Churchill, undertakes extensive charity work and was instrumental in the creation of the Churchill Museum at the Imperial War Museum, which opened earlier this year.

Current Knights Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter are:
The Duke of Abercorn - appointed 23rd April 1999
Sir Antony Acland - appointed 23rd April 2001
The Lord Ashburton - appointed 23rd April 1994
Field Marshal The Lord Bramall - appointed 23rd April 1990
The Rt Hon Lord Butler of Brockwell - appointed 23rd April 2003
The Lord Carrington - appointed 23rd April 1985
Sir Timothy Colman - appointed 23rd April 1996
Sir William Gladstone - appointed 23rd April 1999
The Duke of Grafton - appointed 23rd April 1976
Sir Edward Heath - appointed 23rd April 1992
Sir Edmund Hillary - appointed 23rd April 1995
Field Marshal The Lord Inge - appointed 23rd April 2001
The Lord Kingsdown - appointed 23rd April 1994
The Rt Hon Lord Morris of Aberavon - appointed 23rd April 2003
The Lord Richardson of Duntisbourne - appointed 23rd April 1983
The Viscount Ridley - appointed 23rd April 1992
The Lord Sainsbury of Preston Candover - appointed 23rd April 1992
The Rt Hon Ninian Stephen - appointed 23rd April 1994
The Lady Thatcher - appointed 23rd April 1995
The Duke of Wellington - appointed 23rd April 1990
The Duke of Westminster - appointed 23rd April 2003