|Royal Order of the White Eagle|
|Type||State Order (1883–1945)|
House Order (after 1945)
|Awarded for||Peace or wartime merit or significant services rendered to the Crown, State and Nation.|
|Presented by|| Kingdom of Serbia|
Kingdom of Yugoslavia
|Eligibility||Serbian/Yugoslav citizens and foreign nationals.|
|Established||23 January 1883|
Grand Cross with swords
Cavalier with swords
|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)
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.
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.
In 1945, with the end of the monarchy, the order was in effect exiled, but it was revived in the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia as a decoration with a War Merit Division. Since the end of Yugoslavia, the Royal Order continues to be awarded by Alexander, Crown Prince of Yugoslavia, as the senior representative of the Crown. His awards include Angelo de Mojana di Cologna, Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, and posthumous conferment upon three Crown Council Members. On 22 August 2016, Prince Alexander awarded the Grand Cross of the Order to husbands of three princesses of the royal family, Sir Desmond de Silva, a former United Nations War Crimes Prosecutor, Mr Gregory Thune-Larsen, and Mr Austin Prichard-Levy.
The Order of the White Eagle has five degrees, and can be awarded with swords for the military services, with or without swords for civil merit. The Order is 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 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.
- 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).
- Crown Prince awards Royal Orders to husbands of Karadjordjevic Princesses, Royal Family of Serbia, 22 August 2016
- "БИОГРАФИЈЕ ДУГОГОДИШЊИХ ЧЛАНОВА АКАДЕМИЈЕ МЕДИЦИНСКИХ НАУКА СРПСКОГ ЛЕКАРСКОГ ДРУШТВА" (PDF) (in Serbian). Академија медицинских наука and Српског лекарског друштва. 2016. Retrieved 2022-02-13.