January 27th was the 162nd anniversary of the birth of Kaiser Wilhelm II. When he attained his eighteenth birthday in 1877 many German and European states conferred upon him as second in line to the German and Prussian throne their highest chivalric honours. These are listed in the Wikipedia biography of him which can be accessed at Wilhelm II, German Emperor. In
One of these came from his maternal grandmother Queen Victoria who made him a Knight of the Garter. Originally she had intended to confer the slightly lower ranking GCB of the Order of the Bath but when Wilhelm’s mother pointed out that other monarchs were going to present him with their highest honour the Queen, somewhat reluctantly, made him a KG.
In later life he commissioned a Lesser George, the sash badge for a Knight of the Garter, with on the reverse the badge of the Prussian equivalent the Order of the Black Eagle. This piece is now in the Museum of the Legion d’Honneur in Paris.
He had received the Black Eagle as a boy of ten in 1869 and there are photographs of him as a boy in uniform wearing the riband and star of the Order. In 1877 he received the further distinction of being given the collar of the Black Eagle.
The badge can be seen in photographs on a Facebook post from the Musee at Musée de la Légion d'honneur et des ordres de chevalerie
I am grateful to the Special Correspondent for sending me the link to this item.
There are several portraits of the Kaiser wearing the Garter. An early one from 1889 in the Royal Collection can be seen with accompanying notes at Rudolf Wimmer (1849-1915) - Wilhelm II, Emperor of Germany (1859-1941)
Kaiser Wilhelm II wearing the Garter with the Windsor Uniform and Oxford DCL robes
Alfred Schwartz (1867-1951)
The Examination Schools University of Oxford
After the Kaiser was deprived of his British honours - KG, GCVO, Royal Victorian Chain - in 1915 and during his exile at Doorn there was something of a standoff about returning the investiture insignia to Britain as the exiled Kaiser maintained that he had been given the Garter by Queen Victoria and was not relinquishing the items. I have not seen how that matter was resolved.