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Order of St Michael and St George

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George
Collar and badge of the Grand Cross
Awarded by
TypeOrder of chivalry
Established28 April 1818
MottoAuspicium Melioris Ævi
(Latin for 'Token of a Better Age')
EligibilityTypically British or Commonwealth realm citizens
Awarded forAt the monarch's pleasure, though typically awarded for extraordinary non-military service in a foreign country or for services to foreign and Commonwealth affairs
StatusCurrently constituted
FounderPrince George, Prince Regent
SovereignCharles III
Grand MasterPrince Edward, Duke of Kent
Grades
  • Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GCMG)
  • Knight/Dame Commander (KCMG/DCMG)
  • Companion (CMG)
Precedence
Next (higher)Order of the Star of India
Next (lower)Order of the Indian Empire

Ribbon bar of the Order

Knight Commander, KCMG insignia

The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince of Wales (the future King George IV), while he was acting as prince regent for his father, King George III.[1][2] It is named in honour of two military saints, Michael and George.

The Order of St Michael and St George was originally awarded to those holding commands or high position in the Mediterranean territories acquired in the Napoleonic Wars, and it was subsequently extended to holders of similar office or position in other territories of the British Empire.[2] It is at present awarded to men and women who hold high office or who render extraordinary or important non-military service to the United Kingdom in a foreign country, and it can also be conferred for important or loyal service in relation to foreign and Commonwealth affairs.[2]

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • The Story of Saint George
  • Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George | Wikipedia audio article

Transcription

Description

The three classes of appointment to the Order are, from highest grade to lowest grade:

  1. Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (GCMG)[a]
  2. Knight Commander or Dame Commander of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (KCMG or DCMG)
  3. Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George (CMG)
Classes of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George[1][2]
Grade Knight Grand Cross Dame Grand Cross Knight Commander Dame Commander Companion
Prefix Sir Dame Sir Dame
Post-nominals GCMG KCMG DCMG CMG
Insignia
Heraldic collar of the Order of St Michael and St George
St George and the Dragon by Mattia Preti (1678)
Coat of arms of the British monarch as sovereign of the Order of St Michael and St George

It is used to honour individuals who have rendered important services in relation to Commonwealth or foreign nations. People are appointed to the Order rather than awarded it. British Ambassadors to foreign nations are regularly appointed as KCMGs, DCMGs, or CMGs. For example, the former British Ambassador to the United States, Sir David Manning, was appointed a CMG when he worked for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and then after his appointment as British Ambassador to the US, he was promoted to a Knight Commander (KCMG). It is the traditional award for members of the FCO.

The Order's motto is Auspicium melioris ævi (Latin for "Token of a better age"). Its patron saints, as the name suggests, are St. Michael the Archangel, and St. George, patron saint of England and of soldiers. One of its primary symbols is that of St Michael trampling over and subduing Satan in battle.

The Order is the sixth-most senior in the British honours system, after The Most Noble Order of the Garter, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, and The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India. The third of the aforementioned Orders—which relates to Ireland, no longer fully a part of the United Kingdom—still exists but is in disuse; no appointments have been made to it since 1936. The last of the Orders on the list, related to India, has also been in disuse since that country's independence in 1947.

History

The Order's insignia often depict St Michael subduing Satan

The Prince Regent founded the Order to commemorate the British amical protectorate over the Ionian Islands, which had come under British control in 1814 and had been granted their own constitution as the United States of the Ionian Islands in 1817. It was intended to reward "natives of the Ionian Islands and of the island of Malta and its dependencies, and for such other subjects of His Majesty as may hold high and confidential situations in the Mediterranean".[3]

In 1864, however, the protectorate ended and the Ionian Islands became part of Greece. A revision of the basis of the Order in 1868, saw membership granted to those who "hold high and confidential offices within Her Majesty's colonial possessions, and in reward for services rendered to the Crown in relation to the foreign affairs of the Empire". Accordingly, nowadays, almost all Governors-General and Governors feature as recipients of awards in the order, typically as Knights or Dames Grand Cross.

In 1965 the order was opened to women,[4] with Evelyn Bark becoming the first female CMG in 1967.[5]

Composition

The British Sovereign is the Sovereign of the Order and appoints all other members of the Order (by convention, on the advice of the Government). The next-most senior member is the Grand Master. The office was formerly filled by the Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands; now, however, Grand Masters are chosen by the Sovereign. Grand Masters include:

The Order originally included 15 Knights Grand Cross, 20 Knights Commanders, and 25 Companions but has since been expanded and the current limits on membership are 125, 375, and 1,750 respectively. Members of the Royal Family who are appointed to the Order do not count towards the limit, nor do foreign members appointed as "honorary members".

Officers

The Order has six officers. The Order's King of Arms is not a member of the College of Arms, like many other heraldic officers. The Usher of the Order is known as the Gentleman or Lady Usher of the Blue Rod. Blue Rod does not, unlike the usher of the Order of the Garter, perform any duties related to the House of Lords.

Habit and insignia

Mantle of the Order
Representation of the star of a Knight or Dame Grand Cross
Star and badge of a Knight or Dame Commander
Collar worn by a Knight or Dame Grand Cross

Members of the Order wear elaborate regalia on important occasions (such as coronations), which vary by rank:

  • The mantle, worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross, is made of Saxon blue satin lined with crimson silk. On the left side is a representation of the star (see below). The mantle is bound with two large tassels.
  • The collar, worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross, is made of gold. It consists of depictions of crowned English lions, Maltese Crosses, and the cyphers "SM" and "SG", all alternately. In the centre are two winged lions of St. Mark, each holding a bible and seven arrows—the emblem of the seven united Ionian Islands.

At less important occasions, simpler insignia are used:

  • The star is an insignia used only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross and Knights and Dames Commanders. It is worn pinned to the left breast. The Knight and Dame Grand Cross' star includes seven-armed, silver-rayed 'Maltese Asterisk' (for want of a better description—see image of badge), with a gold ray in between each pair of arms. The Knight and Dame Commander's star is a slightly smaller eight-pointed silver figure formed by two Maltese Crosses; it does not include any gold rays. In each case, the star bears a red cross of St George. In the centre of the star is a dark blue ring bearing the motto of the Order. Within the ring is a representation of St Michael trampling on Satan.
  • The badge is the only insignia used by all members of the Order; it is suspended on a blue-crimson-blue ribbon. Knights and Dames Grand Cross wear it on a riband or sash, passing from the right shoulder to the left hip. Knights Commanders and male Companions wear the badge from a ribbon around the neck; Dames Commanders and female Companions wear it from a bow on the left shoulder. The badge is a seven-armed, white-enamelled 'Maltese Asterisk' (see Maltese Cross); the obverse shows St Michael trampling on Satan, while the reverse shows St George on horseback killing a dragon, both within a dark blue ring bearing the motto of the Order.

Prior to 2011, the devil was portrayed with black skin while St Michael was shown as being white; this was changed that year to show both with same skin colour, although St Michael's wings were changed from being multi-colour to being pure white. The alleged racism of this imagery has resulted in the government of Jamaica suspending the use of the badge entirely.[7][8][9] In June 2020, calls were made for a complete redesign of the insignia,[8] including from Sir Michael Palin of Monty Python fame, a Knight Commander of the Order[10] In July, the Cabinet Office announced that officers of the Order who were unhappy with their insignia could exchange them for one of the newer models.[11]

On certain "collar days" designated by the Sovereign, members attending formal events may wear the Order's collar over their military uniform or morning wear. When collars are worn (either on collar days or on formal occasions such as coronations), the badge is suspended from the collar. All collars which have been awarded since 1948 must be returned to the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood. The other insignia may be retained.

Chapel

The chapel of the Order of St Michael and St George in St Paul's Cathedral, London.

The original home of the Order was the Palace of St. Michael and St. George in Corfu, the residence of the Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands and the seat of the Ionian Senate. Since 1906, the Order's chapel has been in St Paul's Cathedral in London. (The cathedral also serves as home to the chapels of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor.) Religious services for the whole Order are held quadrennially; new Knights and Dames Grand Cross are installed at these services.

The Sovereign and the Knights and Dames Grand Cross are allotted stalls in the choir of the chapel, above which their heraldic devices are displayed. Perched on the pinnacle of a knight's stall is his helm, decorated with a mantling and topped by his crest. Under English heraldic law, women other than monarchs do not bear helms or crests; instead, the coronet appropriate to the dame's rank, if there is one, is used. Above the crest or coronet, the stall's occupant's heraldic banner is hung, emblazoned with his or her coat of arms. At a considerably smaller scale, to the back of the stall is affixed a piece of brass (a "stall plate") displaying its occupant's name, arms and date of admission into the Order. Upon the death of a Knight, the banner, helm, mantling and crest are taken down. The stall plates, however, are not removed; rather, they remain permanently affixed somewhere about the stall, so that the stalls of the chapel are festooned with a colourful record of the Order's Knights and Dames Grand Cross since 1906.

The reredos within the chapel was commissioned from Henry Poole in 1927.[12]

Precedence and privileges

Members of the Order of St Michael are assigned positions in the order of precedence in England and Wales. Wives of male members also feature on the order of precedence, as do sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commanders; relatives of female members, however, are not assigned any special precedence. (Individuals can derive precedence from their fathers or husbands, but not from their mothers or wives. This follows the general rule of honours, that a husband never derives any style or title from his wife.)

Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commanders prefix "Sir", and Dames Grand Cross and Dames Commanders prefix "Dame", to their forenames. Wives of Knights may prefix "Lady" to their surnames, but husbands of Dames derive no title from their wives. Such forms are not used by peers and princes, except when the names of the former are written out in their fullest forms. Furthermore, honorary (foreign) members and clergymen do not receive the accolade and thus are not entitled to use the prefix "Sir" or "Dame". Knights and Dames Grand Cross use the post-nominal "GCMG"; Knights Commanders and Dames Commanders use "KCMG" and "DCMG" respectively; Companions use "CMG".

Knights and Dames Grand Cross are also entitled to receive heraldic supporters. They may, furthermore, encircle their arms with a depiction of the circlet (a circle bearing the motto) and the collar; the former is shown either outside or on top of the latter. Knights and Dames Commanders and Companions may display the circlet, but not the collar, surrounding their arms. The badge is depicted suspended from the collar or circlet.

Popular references

In the satirical British television programme Yes Minister, Jim Hacker MP is told a joke[13] by his Private Secretary, Bernard Woolley, about what the various post-nominals stand for. From Series 2, Episode 2 "Doing the Honours":

Woolley: In the [civil] service, CMG stands for "Call Me God". And KCMG for "Kindly Call Me God".
Hacker: What does GCMG stand for?
Woolley (deadpan): "God Calls Me God".

Ian Fleming's spy, James Bond, a commander in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR), was fictionally decorated as a CMG in 1953. This is mentioned in the novels From Russia, with Love and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and on-screen in his obituary in Skyfall. He was offered appointment as KCMG (which would have elevated him from Companion to Knight Commander in the Order) in The Man with the Golden Gun, but he rejected the offer as he did not wish to become a public figure. Dame Judi Dench's character "M" is "offered" early retirement as a GCMG in Skyfall.

Daniel Craig, who has portrayed Bond on film, was appointed (CMG) in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to film and theatre.[14] The general release on 30 September 2021 of his last appearance as James Bond, in No Time to Die, had been delayed by almost two years due to a change of director and the COVID-19 pandemic. Coinciding with the film's premiere, and matching his fictional character's rank, Craig became an Honorary Commander in Britain's Royal Navy. Following this appointment, he committed to being an ambassador for the Royal Navy, particularly in its international role, and to the welfare of its service families.

Long-time Doctor Who companion Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart wore the ribbon of the order as the highest of his decorations.

Current Knights and Dames Grand Cross

Sovereign and Grand Master

Name Year of appointment Present age
The King (ex officio)
Sovereign since 2022 75
The Duke of Kent KG, GCMG, GCVO, CD, ADC
1967 88

Knights and Dames Grand Cross

Name Known for Year of appointment Present age
Sir Shridath Ramphal GCMG, AC, ONZ, OE OM OCC, KC, FRSA Commonwealth Secretary-General 1990 95
The Lord Wilson of Tillyorn KT, GCMG, FRSE Governor of Hong Kong 1991 89
Sir Wiwa Korowi GCMG Governor-General of Papua New Guinea 1992 76
Sir James Carlisle GCMG, KStJ Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda 1993 92
Sir Rodric Braithwaite GCMG Chairman of the UK Joint Intelligence Committee and Ambassador to the Soviet Union and Russia 1994 92
Sir Julius Chan GCL, GCMG, KBE, PC Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea 1994 84
Sir Colville Young GCMG, MBE, PC Governor-General of Belize 1994 91
The Lord Hannay of Chiswick GCMG, CH Permanent Representative to the United Nations 1995 88
Sir Orville Turnquest ON, GCMG, KC, JP Governor-General of The Bahamas 1995 94
Sir Tulaga Manuella GCMG, MBE Governor-General of Tuvalu 1996 87
Sir Daniel Williams GCMG, COG Governor-General of Grenada 1996 88
Sir John Coles GCMG Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs 1997 86
Sir John Lapli GCMG Governor-General of the Solomon Islands 1999 69
Dame Pearlette Louisy GCSL, GCMG, DStJ Governor-General of Saint Lucia 1999 78
Sir Andrew Wood GCMG Ambassador to Russia and Ambassador to Yugoslavia 2001 84
Sir John Goulden GCMG Permanent Representative to the Western European Union, Permanent Representative to the North Atlantic Council and Ambassador to Turkey 2001 83
The Lord Kerr of Kinlochard GCMG Permanent Under-Secretary of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ambassador to the United States 2001 82
Sir Tomasi Puapua GCMG, KBE, PC Governor-General of Tuvalu and Prime Minister of Tuvalu 2002 85
Sir David Wright GCMG, LVO Ambassador to Japan and Ambassador to South Korea 2002 80
Sir Jeremy Greenstock GCMG Permanent Representative of the United Kingdom to the United Nations 2003 80
Sir Rob Young GCMG High Commissioner to India 2003 79
The Lord Robertson of Port Ellen KT, GCMG, PC, FRSA, FRSE Secretary General of NATO 2004 78
Sir Stephen Wall GCMG, LVO Permanent Representative to the European Union and Ambassador to Portugal 2004 76–77
Sir Nathaniel Waena GCMG, KStJ, CSI Governor-General of the Solomon Islands 2005 78
The Lord Jay of Ewelme GCMG Permanent Under-Secretary of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ambassador to France 2006 78
Sir Emyr Jones Parry GCMG, FInstP, FLSW Permanent Representiative to the United Nations Security Council and Permanent Representative to NATO 2007 76
Sir Kenneth Hall ON, GCMG, OJ Governor-General of Jamaica 2007 83
Dame Louise Lake-Tack GCMG, DStJ, DGN, DNH, GCH, OM Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda 2007 79
Sir David Manning GCMG, KCVO Ambassador to the United States, Permanent Representative on the North Atlantic Council and Ambassador to Israel 2008 74
Sir Patrick Allen ON, GCMG, KStJ, CD Governor-General of Jamaica 2009 73
Sir Frank Kabui GCMG, OBE, KStJ CSI Governor-General of the Solomon Islands 2009 78
Sir Arthur Foulkes ON, GCMG Governor-General of The Bahamas and High Commissioner to the United Kingdom 2010 96
Sir Iakoba Italeli GCMG Governor-General of Tuvalu and Attorney General of Tuvalu 2010
The Lord Ricketts GCMG, GCVO National Security Adviser and Permanent Under-Secretary of State of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office 2011 71
Sir Nigel Sheinwald GCMG Ambassador to the United States and Permanent Representative to the European Union 2011 71
Sir Elliott Belgrave GCMG, KStJ, KA, CHB, SC Governor-General of Barbados 2012 93
Dame Cécile La Grenade GCMG, OBE, DStJ Governor-General of Grenada 2013 71
Sir Edmund Lawrence GCMG, OBE, CSM, JP Governor-General of Saint Kitts and Nevis 2013 92
Dame Marguerite Pindling ON, GCMG Governor-General of The Bahamas 2014 92
Sir Rodney Williams GCMG, KStJ, KGN, KNH, GCH, GCM Governor-General of Antigua and Barbuda 2014 76
The Baroness Ashton of Upholland LG, GCMG, PC First Vice-President of the European Commission and European Commissioner for Trade 2015 68
Sir John Sawers GCMG, FRUSI Chief of the Secret Intelligence Service and Permanent Representative to the United Nations 2015 68
Sir Simon Fraser GCMG Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs 2016 66
Sir Peter Westmacott GCMG, LVO Ambassador to the United States, Ambassador to France and Ambassador to Turkey 2016 73
Sir Robert Dadae GCL, GCMG, KStJ Governor-General of Papua New Guinea 2017 63
Dame Sandra Mason FB, GCMG, KStJ, DA, SC Governor-General of Barbados 2017 75
Sir Mark Lyall Grant GCMG National Security Adviser and Permanent Representative to the United Nations 2018 68
Sir Neville Cenac GCSL, GCMG Governor-General of Saint Lucia 2018 84
Sir Cornelius Smith ON, GCMG Governor-General of The Bahamas 2019 87
Sir David Vunagi GCMG Governor-General of the Solomon Islands and Archbishop of Melanesia 2019 72
Dame Susan Dougan GCMG, OBE Governor-General of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2020 69
Sir David Attenborough OM, GCMG, CH, CVO, CBE, FRS, FSA, FRSA, FLS, FZS, FRSGS, FRSB Television broadcaster and conservationist 2020 98
Sir Tim Barrow GCMG, LVO, MBE Ambassador to the European Union, Ambassador to Russia and Ambassador to Ukraine 2020 60
Sir Julian King GCMG, KCVO European Commissioner for the Security Union, Ambassador to France and Ambassador to Ireland 2020 59
The Lord McDonald of Salford GCMG, KCVO Permanent Under-Secretary for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Ambassador to Germany and Ambassador to Israel 2021 63
Dame Froyla Tzalam GCMG Governor-General of Belize 2022
Sir Iain Macleod GCMG Legal Adviser to the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office 2022
Sir Tofiga Vaevalu Falani GCMG, MBE Governor-General of Tuvalu 2022
The Lord Sedwill GCMG, PC, FRGS Cabinet Secretary, Head of the Home Civil Service and National Security Adviser 2022 59
Dame Marcella Liburd GCMG, JP Governor-General of Saint Kitts and Nevis 2023 71
Sir Simon Gass GCMG, CVO Chair of the Joint Intelligence Committee and Ambassador to Iran 2023 67
Dame Cynthia Pratt ON, GCMG, CB, CD, JP Governor-General of The Bahamas 2023 78
Sir Stephen Lovegrove GCMG, KCB National Security Adviser and Permanent Under-Secretary of State for Defence 2024 57

Honorary Knights and Dames Grand Cross and Commander

See List of current honorary knights and dames of the Order of St Michael and St George.

Officers

Gallery

See also

Notes

  1. ^ It is commonly written without "of the Most Distinguished Order" and other words not implied by the post-nominals.

References

  1. ^ a b Duckers, Peter (2009) [2004]. British Orders and Decorations. Oxford: Shire Publications. pp. 26–27. ISBN 978-0-7478-0580-9. OCLC 55587484.
  2. ^ a b c d The Royal Household (2009). "Order of St. Michael and St. George". The Official Website of the British Monarchy. London: Crown Copyright. Archived from the original on 27 February 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  3. ^ Townsend, Francis (1828). Calendar of Knights. William Pickering. p. 206.
  4. ^ "Knights/Knighthoods". Geni. Archived from the original on 2 August 2016. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  5. ^ Limerick, Sylvia (23 June 1993). "Obituary: Evelyn Bark". The Independent. Archived from the original on 26 April 2023.
  6. ^ "No. 27785". The London Gazette. 18 April 1905. p. 2886.
  7. ^ Desmond Allen (25 June 2020). "GG rejects racist emblem". Jamaica Observer. Archived from the original on 16 September 2021. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  8. ^ a b Joseph Netto; Leah Asmelash (27 June 2020). "Jamaica's governor-general suspends personal use of royal insignia over 'offending image'". CNN. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  9. ^ Kate Chappel (30 June 2020). "Jamaica suspends use of British royal insignia after anti-racism protests". Reuters. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  10. ^ Tom Ball. "Michael Palin calls for redesign of 'offensive' knighthood medal". The Times. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  11. ^ Middleton, Lucy (2 July 2020). "Recipients of Queen's 'racist' honour can swap medal for updated design". Metro.co.uk. Retrieved 5 May 2023.
  12. ^ Henry POOLE 1873–1928 (Tate Britain); retrieved 1 October 2009.
  13. ^ Cross, Colin (1968). The Fall of the British Empire. London: Book Club Associates.
  14. ^ "No. 63571". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 2022. p. N3.
  15. ^ a b "Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood | Honours and Awards". The Gazette. Archived from the original on 5 December 2022.

External links

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