"Why should I accept from my sovereign the Order of the Garter, when his people have already given me the Order of the Boot?"
- Winston Churchill (1874 - 1965)
After having led Britain through 6 years of war, the first two years as First Lord of the Admiralty and the following four years as Prime Minister, it was surprising that Winston Chuchill and the Conservatives were not returned to government in the 1945 post war general election. This was the first general elction to be held since 1935, elections having been suspended during the war years. The Labour Party, led by Clement Atlee, won by a landslide. It is generally thought that the population were eager for post-war reform and that they felt that the man who had led Britain in war was not the man to lead the nation in peace.
Perhaps somewhat in sympathy and as a token gesture, King George VI offered Winston Churchill the Order of the Garter. a prestigious honour. Churchill declined, speaking the words quoted above.