Order of the White Eagle (Serbia)

Order of the White Eagle was a Royal Order in the Kingdom of Serbia (1883–1918) and the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (1918–1945).

Order of the White Eagle
De ster van de Orde van de Witte Adelaar Servie.jpg
Order of the White Eagle
Awarded by  Kingdom of Serbia
 Kingdom of Yugoslavia
TypeState Order (1883–1945)
House Order (after 1945)
EligibilitySerbian/Yugoslav citizens and foreign nationals.
Awarded forPeace or wartime merit or significant services rendered to the Crown, State and Nation.
Established23 January 1883
First awarded1883
Next (higher)Order of Saint Prince Lazarus (Royal Order only) (1883–98)
Order of Milosh the Great (1898–1903)
Order of the Karađorđe's Star (after 1903)
Next (lower)Order of the Cross of Takovo (before 1903)
Order of St. Sava (1903–1945)
Order of the Yugoslav Crown (Kingdom of Yugoslavia, 1930–1945)
SRB-SHS-YUG Orden Belog Orla sa macevima VKrst BAR.svg
Grand Cross with swords

SRB-SHS-YUG Orden Belog Orla sa macevima VOficir BAR.svg
Great officer with swords
SRB-SHS-YUG Orden Belog Orla sa macevima Komandir BAR.svg
Commander with swords
SRB-SHS-YUG Orden Belog Orla sa macevima Oficir BAR.svg
Officer with swords

SRB-SHS-YUG Orden Belog Orla sa macevima Kavalir BAR.svg
Cavalier with swords


King Milan I of Serbia instituted the Order of the White Eagle on 23 January 1883, concurrently with the Order of St. Sava. The Order had five classes and was conferred on Serbian and Yugoslav citizens for achievements in peace or war, or for special merits to the Crown, the state and nation. In the period between 1883 and 1898 Order of the White Eagle was the highest award in the Kingdom of Serbia. In 1898 the Royal Order of Miloš the Great took precedence over the White Eagle and in 1904 the former was replaced by the Order of Karađorđe's Star.[1]

After his accession to the throne in 1903, King Peter I of Serbia continued awarding the Order of the White Eagle, but the reverse of the medallion had the year of the proclamation of the Kingdom (1883) instead of the cipher of Milan I.

The white eagle with wings displayed was re-established as the State Arms of Serbia, symbol descended from the Emperors of Byzantium. The order had a War Merit Division, with crossed swords between the Royal Crown and eagle's heads, that was introduced in 1915, and conferred for conspicuous bravery of the officers in the field.

The Order is conferred by the Crown. Recent awards include last Grand Master of the Sovereign Order of St. John (Fr. Angelo de Mojana di Cologna), as well as posthumous conferment upon three Crown Council Members.

The order was disestablished in 1945, with the end of the monarchy, but the status of a decoration continued in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY)[2] for the War Merit Division of this decoration.


The Order of the White Eagle had five degrees, and could be awarded with swords for the military services, with or without swords for civil merit. The Order was organized into five classes:

  •   1st Class – Grand Cross
  •   2nd Class – Grand Officer's Cross
  •   3rd Class – Commander's Cross
  •   4th Class – Officer's Cross
  •   5th Class – Knight's Cross

The sash of the Order is worn from the left shoulder to the right hip.[3]


  1. ^ "The Order of the White Eagle". Official Website of the Serbian Royal Family. 1997. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-06-20.
  2. ^ Zakon o osnovnim pravima lica odlikovanih Ordenom Karađorđeve zvezde s mačevima, Ordenom Belog orla s mačevima i Zlatnom medaljom Obilića ("Službeni list SFRJ", br. 67/72, 22/73, 33/76, 39/77 (Prečišćeni tekst), 53/82, 75/85, 87/89).
  3. ^ "Noblesse et Royautés" blog http://www.noblesseetroyautes.com/nr01/2010/06/les-invites-royaux-au-mariage-princier-premieres-photos/ Archived 2013-07-10 at the Wayback Machine, Victoria of Sweden's wedding, June 2010, Prince Alexander wearing it on left shoulder