The Order consists of up to 120 Knights and Dames Grand Cross, 295 Knights and Dames Commander, and 1455 Companions, in addition to the Sovereign and the Great Master. It is the fourth most senior order of merit in Britain, after the Orders of the Garter, the Thistle, and of St. Patrick (which is a dormant order).
The title of the Order comes from medieval days, when soldiers were prepared to receive their knighthood by a ritualised process of washing, which symbolised spiritual purification. The Order was founded by George I in 1725, and in was opened up to women in 1971.
Installation of Knights and Dames Grand Cross happens in the Henry VIII chapel in Westminster Abbey, and thirty-four of the most senior members are allocated stalls in the chapel, where they display their standards, crests and armorial stall plates. Every four years members attend a service in the Chapel, dressed in their crimson satin robes.
Motto: Tria Juncta in Uno ("Three joined in one")
Chapel: Henry VII Chapel, Westminster Abbey
Ranks and Post-nominals: Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GCB); Knight/Dame Commander (KCB/DCB); Companion (CB)