Dynastic order of knighthood


Dynastic order of knighthood

A dynastic order of knighthood is an order belonging to the heraldic patrimony of a dynasty, often held by ancient right. These differ from military, religious, and orders of merit belonging to a particular state, having been instituted to reward personal services rendered to a sovereign, dynasty, or an ancient family of princely rank. An example of this difference is seen between the Royal Victorian Order, which is in the personal gift of the sovereign (and thus is a "dynastic" order), and the Order of the British Empire, which is bestowed by the sovereign on the basis of recommendations by the Prime Minister (and thus is a "national" order).

Domain of the sovereign

Dynastic orders are the exclusive domain of a sovereign, remain as such even if the monarch goes into exile, and are thus transmissible to the legitimate successor and head of the family. Generally, even if a sovereign abdicates of his/her own free will, unless he/she does so explicitly, he/she does not renounce the grand mastership of those dynastic orders belonging to his/her family. If the sovereign should renounce his/her status as "fons honorum", this cannot involve any of his/her heirs that hold the right of inheritance, unless the renunciation took place prior to the sovereign's marriage, and thus the birth of any heirs.

A sovereign (or head of a royal house) in exile, and his/her legitimate successor, continue to enjoy the "ius collationis", or "the right to confer honours," and therefore may bestow honours in full legitimacy. No authority can deprive them of the right to confer honours, since this prerogative belongs to them as a lawful personal property "iure sanguinis" (by right of blood). This does not, of course, mean that the a new political authority is not entitled to forbid the public use of the insignia and titles of such orders according to its own rules in the matter of decorations. In modern Italy, the dynastic orders of the House of Savoy are strictly prohibited from being officially worn.

Sovereigns or heads of royal houses may confer and wear the insignia of their dynastic orders, provided the order has not become extinct. If an order is extinct, and it is not reintroduced as a decoration of a state, it remains extinct. They cannot, moreover, found new dynastic orders.

Various dynastic orders

There are many dynastic orders of knighthood, which exist primarily in Europe. Today, dynastic orders include those still bestowed by a reigning monarch, those bestowed by a head of a royal house in exile, and those that have become extinct.

Bestowed by a Reigning Monarch

* The Royal Victorian Order (Commonwealth realms)
* The Royal Victorian Chain (Commonwealth realms)
* The Noble Order of the Golden Fleece (Spain)
* The Royal Order of Maria Louise (Spain)
* The Order of the House of Orange (The Netherlands)
* The Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau (The Netherlands as well Luxembourg)

Bestowed by not-reigning head of a house

*The Noble Order of the Golden Fleece (Habsburg-Lorraine)
*The Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation (Savoy)
*The Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (Savoy)
*The Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George (Two Sicilies)
*The Royal & Illustrious Order of St. Januarius (Two Sicilies)
*The Order of St. George (Bavaria-Wittelsbach)
*The Order of St. Hubert (Bavaria-Wittelsbach)
*The Order of the Dames of the Starry Cross (Habsburg-Lorraine)
*The Order of Saint Joseph (Tuscany)
*The Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary (Hungary)
*The Order of Saint Peter of Cetinje (Montenegro)
*The Order of Prince Danilo I of Montenegro (Montenegro)
*The Order of Carol I (Romania)
*The Order of the Holy Spirit (duc d'Anjou as Louis XX, France)
*The Order of Saint Michael(duc d'Anjou as Louis XX, France)
*The Royal Order of the Intare (Rwanda)
*The House Order of Hohenzollern (Hohenzollern, Germany)


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