With the death of Viscount Ridley, KG, a Knight of the Garter since 1992, the Queen will be pondering on possible candidates to fill the vacancy now caused in England's senior-most Order of Chivalry.
Will Her Majesty bestow the prestigious honour on her former Prime Minister, Tony Blair in this her Diamond Jubilee Year?
The Garter is traditionally awarded on St George's Day (April 23) and is limited to 24 non-royal Knights Companion. The new knights are invested at Windsor at the start of Royal Ascot week in June, and process from the castle to St George's Chapel in the splendid Garter robes.
Former Prime Ministers nearly always collect the Garter. Harold Macmillan declined the honour, but later accepted an earldom, Alec Douglas-Home was already a Knight of the Order of the Thistle (Scotland's senior order) when he became PM in 1963. Harold Wilson collected his within weeks of his resignation in 1976, but Heath, Thatcher and Major waited several years to collect their Garter stars and ostrich plumed hats. The speed of their advancement depends on vacancies cropping up.
It would certainly go against tradition for Gordon Brown to dubbed a KG before his predecessor, but Brown, a Scot, who held a Scottish seat in Parliament, may pick up the Thistle instead.