Order of the ThistleOrder of the British EmpireOrder of MeritOrder of St PatrickRoyal Victorian OrderDistinguished Service OrderOrder of the BathOrder of the GarterOrder of Companions of HonourOrder of St Michael and St George* Drag / drop or click on the choices above to move them to the answer list.
Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter is the oldest and most senior order of chivalry in the United Kingdom, although it is actually an English order. Although the year of foundation is given officially as 1348, the first members of the order were listed as being knighted in April 1344. The order was founded by Edward III, as part of his efforts to unite the nation, and especially its upper echelons, with a spirit of camaraderie and nobility that would be symbolised by a new order of chivalry.
The name of the Order is said to originate from a court ball, at which a garter belonging to one of the ladies of the court slipped from her leg. While others sniggered, the King picked it up and returned it to her, exclaiming "honi soit qui mal y pense" in admonition, which subsequently became the motto of the Order. The Order has a single class of member, who are permitted to use the title "Sir" or "Lady", depending on their gender, and the postnominal letters KG or LG.
2. Order of the Thistle
The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is Scotland's highest order of chivalry and ranks second only to the Order of the Garter. Founded in 1687 by King James VII of Scotland (who was also James II of England, the original intention was to reward Scottish Catholics for their loyalty to the King, but following James's deposition in 1688 the Order fell into abeyance. However, in 1704, Queen Anne revived the Order, after which it became the senior order of chivalry for Scotland.
The Order's motto, "Nemo me impune lacessit", is the motto of the House of Stuart, originating from at least the reign of James VI of Scotland. The legend of the motto's establishment comes from around 1263 - a party of Norwegian raiders had landed in Scotland, when one of them stepped on a thistle, crying out in pain and alerting the Scottish defenders. In the motto, "me" originally referred to the thistle itself, but in the wider context refers to Scotland as a whole. The Order has a single class of member, who are permitted to use the title "Sir" or "Lady", depending on their gender, and the postnominal letters KT or LT.
3. Order of St Patrick
The Most Illustrious Order of Saint Patrick is the order of chivalry associated with Ireland, ranking behind the Garter and the Thistle. Originally founded by George III at the request of the Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, the Order was intended to recognise the King's Irish subjects in the same way that the other two recognised English and Scottish. Members were appointed to the Order up to 1936, with the last non-royal member appointed in 1922. Since the independence of Ireland, appointments have not been made, as the Irish constitution does not permit the awarding of "titles of nobility or honour" to its citizens. The last surviving knight of the Order, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, died in 1974. However, the Order technically remains in existence, with suggestions to revive it having come at various times since the Second World War.
The Order's motto, "Quis separabit?", is derived from the Book of Romans, 8:35 ("Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?") and is associated with unionism in Ireland, referring to the union between Britain and Ireland. This has been used for some 200 years, and was also used as the motto of the Government of Northern Ireland, and a number of Irish regiments in the British Army. The Order has a single class of member, who are permitted to use the title "Sir", and the postnominal letters KP. Women had not been permitted entry into the Order upon it becoming dormant in 1936.
4. Order of the Bath
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath was originally founded in 1725 by King George I, based on an idea by the then Garter King of Arms, John Anstis. The newly established Order was initially used as a means of distributing patronage by the Prime Minister, Sir Robert Walpole, to allow him to maintain his own personal power in both Parliament and with the King. However, although initial appointments were political in nature, as time progressed it became more common to award it for military, naval or diplomatic achievements. The Order's name comes from the medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements.
The Order's motto, "Tria juncta in uno", is believed to refer to the three kingdoms, England, Scotland and Ireland, that made up the United Kingdom, as the Order of the Bath, although only the fourth most senior order of chivalry overall, is the most senior encompassing the whole of the United Kingdom. The Order is also the most senior with multiple classes of award - the highest is Knight/Dame Grand Cross, followed by Knight/Dame Commander, both of which allow their holders to use the title "Sir" or "Dame", and then Companion, which provides no title. The postnominal letters for the three classes are respectively GCB, KCB/DCB and CB.
5. Order of St Michael and St George
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George was originally founded in 1814 by the Prince Regent as an order of chivalry intended to be awarded to citizens of British protectorates and colonies in the Mediterranean, primarily the Ionian Islands, which became a British protectorate in 1814, and Malta, and to those who served in the diplomatic or colonial services in those regions. However, upon the transfer of the Ionian Islands to Greece in 1864, the statutes of the Order were altered so that it could be awarded to British colonial administrators and diplomats stationed across the globe. The name of the Order stems from its patron saints, the archangel St Michael, and St George, the patron saint of both England and soldiers.
The motto of the Order, "Auspicium melioris ævi", stems from its foundation, with the original idea coming from Henry Bathurst, the Colonial Secretary, who had led the formation of the Ionian Islands into a single state under British protection. The Order sits as sixth in seniority, and has three classes - Knight/Dame Grand Cross and Knight/Dame Commander, both of which allow the use of the title "Sir" or "Dame", and Companion, which has no title. The postnominal letters for the three classes are GCMG, KCMG/DCMG, and CMG.
6. Distinguished Service Order
The Distinguished Service Order is a military order constituted by Queen Victoria in 1886 and intended to reward instances of meritorious service during wartime. When it was originally instituted, it was only awarded to officers, and was typically awarded to majors and above, with awards to officers of ranks below major usually coming as a result of an act of gallantry just short of that being eligible for the Victoria Cross. Since 1993, the Distinguished Service Order has been open to all ranks who have shown 'highly successful command and leadership during active operations'. The Order is no longer awarded for gallantry as, in the same year the Conspicuous Gallantry Cross was established.
The Distinguished Service Order has no motto, and is the only British chivalric order that can be awarded more than once, as it is primarily a military decoration. It has only a single class of award, ranked as a Companion, which permits no title, but allows the use of the postnominal letters DSO.
7. Royal Victorian Order
The Royal Victorian Order was founded by Queen Victoria in 1896. At the time, most of the honours and awards bestowed by the British monarch, including the Order of the Garter and Order of the Thistle, were awarded on the advice of ministers. So, the Queen elected to establish a new order that would be awarded by her personally, to reward distinguished service to the Crown directly. The Order was founded in 1896 with a view to the first awards being made in 1897, the year of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, allowing the Queen time to compile an initial list of inductees.
The motto of the Order is simply "Victoria" which, as well as being the name of its founder, is also the Latin word for victory. The Order has a total of five classes, with the highest, Knight/Dame Grand Cross and Knight/Dame Commander, conferring the titles of "Sir" or "Dame" on the recipient. The remaining classes - Commander, Lieutenant and Member - allow no title. Until 1984, the rank of Member was split into Member (Fourth Class) and Member (Fifth Class). In that year, Queen Elizabeth renamed Member (Fourth Class) as Lieutenant. The Order's postnominal letters are respectively GCVO, KCVO/DCVO, CVO, LVO and MVO. Additionally, the Order also has a medal, the Royal Victorian Medal, awarded for service to those who would not be elevated to membership of an order.
8. Order of Merit
The Order of Merit is an order founded in 1902 by King Edward VII, with the intention of honouring meritorious service by members of the armed forces, and for service in the advancement of art, science or literature. Prior to its actual foundation, attempts had been made by a number of the King's predecessors to establish an order to honour individuals in fields outside public service. From its inception, the Order was in the personal gift of the Sovereign, and was not awarded following advice from ministers.
The motto of the Order is simply "For Merit", and is in English rather than Latin. However, because the Order is awarded not just in the UK, but also in other Commonwealth realms, in Canada, where French is also an official language, the motto is also listed as "Pour le mérite". The Order of Merit has a single class that has no title attached, although it does permit the use of the postnominal letters OM.
9. Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire was constituted by King George V in 1917 as part of his overhaul of the honours system. At the time, despite the country being embroiled in the First World War, the existing honours system did not allow for the recognition of general public service. So, the King established a new chivalric order to honour those working in charitable and welfare sectors, in the arts and sciences, and in public service outside the Civil Service. Since then, the Order has become the one most generally recognised on the publication of the twice-yearly honours lists.
The Order's motto is "For God and the Empire", and stems from its foundation as an award for public service. The Order has five classes, where the highest, Knight/Dame Grand Cross and Knight/Dame Commander, confer the titles of "Sir" or "Dame". The three lower classes, Commander, Officer and Member, allow no title, but all classes have postnominal letters - GBE, KBE/DBE, CBE, OBE and MBE. Additionally, the British Empire Medal, constituted in 1922, is also awarded for public service, and is associated with, although not officially part of, the Order.
10. Order of Companions of Honour
The Order of Companions of Honour was established by King George V in 1917 as an award "constituting an honour disassociated either from the acceptance of title or the classification of merit". Appointment to the Order was intended to cover not just the UK but the various nations of the British Empire, and so quotas within the membership of the Order were set up for subjects from the dominions. Today, the Order is sometimes seen as the junior order to the Order of Merit, and is awarded for making a major contribution to the arts, science, medicine or government over an extended period of time.
The Order's motto, "In Action Faithful and In Honour Clear", was originally written by the eighteenth century poet Alexander Pope as a description of his friend James Craggs in his poem "Epistle to Mr Addison", and is intended to describe the contribution over time of members of the Order. There is a single class to the Order, which confers no title, but allows the use of the postnominal letters CH.