Open main menu

Wikipedia β

The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later King George IV,[1][2] while he was acting as regent for his father, King George III.

Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George
Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George (Great Britain) - Memorial JK - Brasilia - DSC00425.JPG
Star of a Knight or Dame Grand Cross
Awarded by
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.svg
Sovereign of the United Kingdom
Type Order of chivalry
Established 28 April 1818
Motto Auspicium Melioris Ævi
Token of a Better Age
Awarded for At the monarch's pleasure
Status Currently constituted
Founder George, Prince Regent
Sovereign Queen Elizabeth II
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
UK Order St-Michael St-George ribbon.svg
Ribbon bar of the Order of St Michael and St George

It is named in honour of two military saints, St Michael and St 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 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 in a foreign country, and can also be conferred for important or loyal service in relation to foreign and Commonwealth affairs.[2]

Contents

DescriptionEdit

The Order includes three classes, in descending order of seniority and rank:

  • Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross (GCMG)[1][2]
  • Knight Commander (KCMG) or Dame Commander (DCMG)[1][2]
  • Companion (CMG)[1][2]

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 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. 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.

HistoryEdit

 
On the Order's insignia, St Michael is often depicted subduing Satan

The Order was founded to commemorate the British amical protectorate over the Ionian Islands, which had come under British control in 1814 and had been granted its 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 a part of Greece. The Order's basis was revised in 1868; membership was 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, numerous Governors-General and Governors feature as recipients of awards in the order.

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

CompositionEdit

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".

OfficersEdit

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 Usher of the Blue Rod; he does not, unlike his Order of the Garter equivalent (the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod), perform any duties related to the House of Lords.

Habit and insigniaEdit

 
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 lions, Maltese Crosses, and the cyphers "SM" and "SG", all alternately. In the centre are two winged lions, each holding a book and seven arrows.

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.

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.

ChapelEdit

 
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 were commissioned from Henry Poole in 1927.[6]

Precedence and privilegesEdit

 
The Duke of Kent, Grand Master of the Order, and his Duchess
 
German shipping magnate Rickmer Clasen Rickmers (1807–1886) wearing the insignia of a C.M.G. (centre)

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. (As a general rule, individuals can derive precedence from their fathers or husbands, but not from their mothers or wives.)

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 no equivalent privilege exists for husbands of Dames. 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 referencesEdit

 
Riband (worn incorrectly), star and collar of GCMG worn by Lord Grenfell

In the satirical British television programme Yes Minister, Jim Hacker MP is told an old joke[7] by his Private Secretary Bernard Woolley about what the various post-nominals stand for. From Season 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 with the 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 the KCMG (which would have elevated him from a Companion in the Order to a Knight Commander in the Order) in The Man with the Golden Gun, but he rejected that offer as he did not wish to become a public figure. Dame Judi Dench's character "M" is "offered" early retirement and a GCMG in Skyfall after a series of unfortunate events resulting in the loss of a list that named every NATO espionage operative.

Long-time Doctor Who companion Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart wore the ribbon of the order as the highest of his decorations in the series' classic era.

Current Knights and Dames Grand CrossEdit

 
Riband, badge and star of a GCMG worn by Lord Tweedsmuir.

(NOTE: For clarity, the table denotes holders of the GCMG only; all other posts-nominal shown, for respective members, are for the sake of completeness alone.)

Knights and Dames Grand CrossEdit

Number Name Post-nominals Known for Year
appointed
1   Sayyid Sir Jamshid bin Abdullah of Zanzibar GCMG Sultan of Zanzibar 1963
2   HRH The Duke of Kent KG GCMG GCVO Royal family 1967
3   Sir Clive Rose GCMG British diplomat 1981
4   The Rt Hon. Sir Ninian Stephen KG AK GCMG GCVO KBE PC QC Governor General of Australia 1982
5   Sir Hugh Cortazzi GCMG British diplomat 1984
6   Sir John Thomson GCMG British diplomat 1985
7   Sir Antony Acland KG GCMG GCVO British diplomat 1986
8   Sir John Graham Bt GCMG British diplomat 1986
9   The Rt Hon. The Lord Carrington KG GCMG CH MC PC DL Secretary General of NATO 1988
10   Sir Crispin Tickell GCMG KCVO British diplomat 1989
11   The Rt Hon. The Lord Wright of Richmond GCMG British diplomat 1989
12   The Hon. Sir Shridath Ramphal GCMG AC ONZ QC Secretary General of the Commonwealth of Nations 1990
13   The Rt Hon. Sir Michael Somare GCMG CH PC Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea 1990
14   Dame Catherine Tizard GCMG GCVO DBE QSO ONZ Governor General of New Zealand 1990
15   The Rt Hon. The Lord Wilson of Tillyorn KT GCMG Governor of Hong Kong 1991
16   Sir Wiwa Korowi GCMG Governor General of Papua New Guinea 1992
17   Sir Reginald Palmer GCMG Governor General of Grenada 1992
18   Sir James Carlisle GCMG Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda 1993
19   Sir Rodric Braithwaite GCMG British diplomat 1994
20   Sir Julius Chan GCL GCMG KBE Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea 1994
21   Sir Colville Young GCMG MBE Governor General of Belize 1994
22   The Rt Hon. The Lord Hannay of Chiswick GCMG CH British diplomat 1995
23   Sir Orville Turnquest GCMG QC Governor General of the Bahamas 1995
24   The Rt Hon. Sir Michael Hardie Boys GNZM GCMG QSO Governor General of New Zealand 1996
25   Sir Christopher Mallaby GCMG GCVO British diplomat 1996
26   Sir Tulaga Manuella GCMG Governor General of Tuvalu 1996
27   Sir Daniel Williams GCMG Governor General of Grenada 1996
28   Sir John Coles GCMG British diplomat 1997
29   Sir Silas Atopare GCL GCMG Governor General of Papua New Guinea 1998
30   Sir John Lapli GCMG Governor General of the Solomon Islands 1999
31   Dame Pearlette Louisy GCMG Governor General of Saint Lucia 1999
32   Sir Andrew Wood GCMG British diplomat 2001
33   Sir Tomu Sione GCMG OBE Governor General of Tuvalu 2001
34   Sir John Goulden GCMG British diplomat 2001
35   The Rt Hon. The Lord Kerr of Kinlochard GCMG British diplomat 2001
36   Sir Tomasi Puapua GCMG KBE PC Governor General of Tuvalu 2002
37   Sir David Wright GCMG LVO British diplomat 2002
38   Sir Frederick Ballantyne GCMG Governor General of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 2002
39   Sir Jeremy Greenstock GCMG British diplomat 2003
40   Sir Rob Young GCMG British diplomat 2003
41   The Rt Hon. The Lord Robertson of Port Ellen KT GCMG PC Secretary General of NATO 2004
42   Sir Stephen Wall GCMG LVO British diplomat 2004
43   The Rt Hon. Sir Paulias Matane GCL GCMG OBE Governor General of Papua New Guinea 2005
44   Sir Nathaniel Waena GCMG KStJ Governor General of Solomon Islands 2005
45   The Rt Hon. The Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon GCMG CH KBE PC British diplomat 2006
46   The Rt Hon. The Lord Jay of Ewelme GCMG British diplomat 2006
47   Sir Emyr Jones Parry GCMG British diplomat 2007
48   The Most Hon. Sir Kenneth O. Hall GCMG Governor General of Jamaica 2007
49   Dame Louise Lake-Tack GCMG Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda 2007
50   Sir David Manning GCMG KCVO British diplomat 2008
51   Sir Carlyle Glean GCMG Governor General of Grenada 2008
52   His Excellency The Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen ON GCMG CD Governor General of Jamaica 2009
53   Sir Frank Kabui GCMG OBE CSI Governor General of Solomon Islands 2009
54   Sir Arthur Foulkes GCMG Governor General of the Bahamas 2010
55   Sir Iakoba Italeli GCMG Governor General of Tuvalu 2010
56   The Rt Hon. The Lord Ricketts GCMG GCVO British diplomat 2011
57   Sir Nigel Sheinwald GCMG British diplomat 2011
58   Sir Elliott Belgrave GCMG QC Governor General of Barbados 2012
59   Dame Cécile La Grenade GCMG OBE Governor General of Grenada 2013
60   Sir Edmund Lawrence GCMG OBE Governor General of Saint Kitts and Nevis 2013
61   Dame Marguerite Pindling GCMG Governor General of the Bahamas 2014
62   Sir Rodney Williams GCMG Governor General of Antigua and Barbuda 2014
63   The Rt Hon. The Baroness Ashton of Upholland GCMG PC British diplomat 2015
64   Sir John Sawers GCMG British diplomat 2015
65   Sir Tapley Seaton GCMG CVO QC JP Governor General of Saint Kitts and Nevis 2015
66   Sir Simon Fraser GCMG British diplomat 2016
67   Sir Peter Westmacott GCMG LVO British diplomat 2016
68   Sir Robert Dadae GCMG Governor General of Papua New Guinea 2017

OfficersEdit

Honorary Knights/Dame Grand Cross (GCMG)Edit

 
Star and collar of honorary GCMG worn by Serbian Field Marshal Živojin Mišić
Name Post-Nominals Known for Year
appointed
Notes
    Qaboos bin Said al Said GCB GCMG GCVO Sultan of Oman 1976
    Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of Brunei GCB GCMG Sultan of Brunei 1984
  Abdelaziz bin Khalifa Al Thani GCMG Member of the royal family of Qatar 1985
  Gyanendra of Nepal GCMG Former King of Nepal 1986
  Fidel V. Ramos GCMG Former President of the Philippines 1995
  Aleksander Kwaśniewski GCB GCMG Former President of Poland 1996
  Maumoon Abdul Gayoom GCMG Former President of the Maldives 1997 [8]
  Nawaz Sharif GCMG Former Prime Minister of Pakistan 1997
  Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani GCMG Former Emir of Qatar 1997
  Carlos Menem GCMG Former President of Argentina 1998
  Ernesto Zedillo GCMG Former President of Mexico 1998
  Alberto Fujimori GCMG Former President of Peru 1998
  Ong Teng Cheong GCMG Former President of Singapore 1998 [9]
  János Martonyi GCMG Minister of Foreign Affairs 1999 [8]
    Abdullah II of Jordan GCB GCMG KCVO King of Jordan 1999
  Giuliano Amato GCMG Former Prime Minister of Italy 2000
  Lamberto Dini GCMG Former Prime Minister of Italy 2000
    Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark GCB GCMG GCVO Prince Consort of Denmark 2000
  Emil Constantinescu GCMG Former President of Romania 2000
  Thabo Mbeki GCB GCMG Former President of South Africa 2000
  Nursultan Nazarbayev GCMG President of Kazakhstan 2000
  Ali Abu al-Ragheb GCMG Former Prime Minister of Jordan 2001
  Jorge Sampaio GCMG Former President of Portugal 2001
  Anson Chan GBM GCMG CBE JP Former Chief Secretary of Hong Kong 2002 [10]
  Vicente Fox GCMG Former President of Mexico 2002 [8]
  Xanana Gusmão GCMG, GCL, CNZM Former Prime Minister of East Timor 2003
  Hamid Karzai GCMG Former President of Afghanistan 2003
  Alfred Moisiu GCMG Former President of Albania 2003
  Włodzimierz Cimoszewicz GCMG Former Prime Minister of Poland 2004
  Gianfranco Fini GCMG Former Deputy Prime Minister of Italy 2005
    Kofi Annan GCMG Former Secretary-General of the United Nations 2006 [11][12]
  Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum GCMG Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates 2010 [13]
  Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan GCMG Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi 2010 [14]
  Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah GCMG Deputy Prime Minister of Kuwait 2012 [15]
  Manuel Valls GCMG Prime Minister of France 2014 [16]
  Marie Louise Coleiro Preca GCMG President of Malta 2015 [17]

Honorary Knights/Dames Commander (KCMG/DCMG)Edit

Name Post-Nominals Known for Year
appointed
Notes
  King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa KCMG 1979
  Richard Armitage KCMG, CNZM, AC 2005
  Carl Bildt KCMG 2009 [18]
  Fazle Hasan Abed KCMG 2010
  Jaap de Hoop Scheffer KCMG 2010 [19]
  Jacques Rogge KCMG 2014
  Angelina Jolie DCMG 2014 [20]
  Anders Fogh Rasmussen KCMG 2015 [21]
  José Antonio Meade Kuribreña KCMG 2015 [21]
  Joseph Muscat KCMG 2015 [21]
  Peter Piot KCMG 2016 [22]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c d 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 e f 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 genealogy project". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  5. ^ Evelyn Bark, article by The Independent
  6. ^ Henry POOLE 1873–1928 (Tate Britain); retrieved 1 October 2009.
  7. ^ Cross, Colin (1968). The Fall of the British Empire. London: Book Club Associates. 
  8. ^ a b c [1]
  9. ^ [2] Archived 14 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. ^ "H.K.'s ex-No. 2 leader Anson Chan honored by Queen Elizabeth". Findarticles. 11 November 2002. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2009. 
  11. ^ "Honorary knighthood for Kofi Annan". The Sydney Morning Herald. Sydney: Fairfax Media. 2007-10-25. Retrieved 2015-04-29. 
  12. ^ "Honorary knighthood for Kofi Annan". Metro.co.uk. London: Associated Newspapers Limited. 2007-10-24. Retrieved 2015-04-29. 
  13. ^ Alice Johnson Khalifa, Queen Elizabeth II exchange orders. Gulf News. 26 November 2010 Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  14. ^ List of honorary British knights and dames
  15. ^ "Sabah Dynasty". Royal Ark. Retrieved 8 September 2013. 
  16. ^ "Honorary awards" (PDF). Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  17. ^ "Honorary awards" (PDF). Retrieved 30 June 2017. 
  18. ^ [3] Archived 1 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine.
  19. ^ "Hoge Britse ridderorde voor De Hoop Scheffer" (in Dutch). 
  20. ^ "Honorary British Awards to Foreign Nationals – 2014". 
  21. ^ a b c "Honorary British Awards to Foreign Nationals – 2015" (PDF). 
  22. ^ "Honorary awards" (PDF). 

External linksEdit