Order of Leopold (Austria)

The Austrian Imperial Order of Leopold (German: Österreichisch-kaiserlicher Leopold-Orden) was founded by Franz I of Austria on 8 January 1808. The order's statutes stipulated only three grades: Grand Cross, Commander and Knight. During the war, in common with the other Austrian and later Austro-Hungarian decorations, crossed swords were instituted to reward bravery in the face of the enemy.

Austrian Imperial Order of Leopold
Ornat Leopoldsorden.jpg
Robe of the Order
Awarded by Imperial Standard of Austria-Hungary (1915-1918).svg The Head of the House of Habsburg
TypeDynastic order
Royal houseHouse of Habsburg
Awarded forCivil and military merit
SovereignCrown Prince Karl of Austria
GradesGrand Cross
First Class
Next (higher)Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary
Next (lower)Order of the Iron Crown (Austria)
EquivalentOrder of the Starry Cross

An Imperial Decree of 1 February 1901 ordered that in future, the senior grade would be split into two separate awards. From then onwards, there were four ranks: Grand Cross, First Class, Commander, Knight.

Until 18 July 1884, the award of the order also entitled the recipient, if he was not already of that standing, to be raised to the following appointments and/or ranks of the nobility:

  • Grand Cross: Privy Councillor
  • Commander: Baron
  • Knight: Ritter


Both the Grand Cross and the First Class members of the Order wore (on formal occasions) their insignia in the form of a sash with the badge attached to the bow and respectively an eight-pointed and a four-pointed breast star. The Grand Cross was somewhat larger than the First Class, as was the width of the sash. A Commander's badge was worn at the neck, suspended from a 52 mm wide ribbon; a Knight wore his badge on a triangular ribbon on the left breast.

The badge consists of a red-enameled gold cross, with white enamel edging. The obverse of the badge displays the initials FIA in gold on a red enamel background. The mottoes of the Order were INTEGRITATI ET MERITO and OPES REGUM CORDA SUBDITORUM. The ribbon of the Order is red with two narrow white side-stripes. The badge's cross is surmounted by a golden imperial crown.

The Grand Cross could also be awarded with diamonds; from 1808 to 1918, only four people received this honour. The last recipient, Ernst Graf von Silva-Tarouca, was awarded the decoration on 11 November 1918, hours before Charles I of Austria withdrew from public affairs. After 1918, the Order was no longer awarded.

Ribbon bars
Knight Commander Knight Grand Cross

Famous recipientsEdit

Breast star and badge

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Here and There". The Hebrew Standard. Vol. LII, no. 21. New York, N.Y. 29 May 1908. p. 7 – via Historical Jewish Press.


  • Gustav Adolph Ackermann, Ordensbuch, Sämtlicher in Europa blühender und erloschener Orden und Ehrenzeichen. Annaberg, 1855
  • Václav Měřička, Orden und Ehrenzeichen der Österreichisch-Ungarischen Monarchie, Wien 1974

External linksEdit