Sash of the Three Orders

The Sash of the Three Orders (Portuguese: Banda das Três Ordens, or Banda da Grã-Cruz das Três Ordens) is a decoration that combines the insignia of the Grand Crosses of the Military Orders of Christ, Aviz and St. James of the Sword. It is the symbol of the Portuguese presidential magistracy, in their capacity as the fount of the Portuguese honours system; therefore, it cannot be conferred on nationals or foreigners, nor can it be used outside the exercise of office of the President.

Sash of the Three Orders
Banda das Três Ordens
Three Orders.jpg
Insignia of the order in 1918
Awarded by Flag of Portugal.svg Portuguese Republic
TypePresidential Sash and Breast Star
Established17 June 1789[1]
EligibilityPresident of the Republic in office
Awarded forexclusive use of the President of Portugal in office
Grand MasterPresident of the Portuguese Republic
GradesGrand Cross (BTO)[2]
Next (higher)None
Next (lower)Sash of the Two Orders
PRT Three Orders BAR.svg
Ribbon bar of the Sash of the Three Orders

Unlike other decorations, the Sash is not granted to Presidents upon their inauguration, but rather only worn by them during their terms in office.[3] It can be worn with any of the Grand Collars of the orders possessing that grade, but without the sash and wearing the respective order's star that gives precedence to that of the Three Orders' Sash.[4]


The decoration, along with the similar Sash of the Two Orders, was officially founded in 1789 by Queen Maria I.[5] However, its origins can be traced further back to 1551, when Pope Julius III—under great diplomatic pressure—issued the Praeclara Clarissimi Papal Bull of 30 November, surrendering his position as Grand Master of the three Catholic knightly orders (the Order of Our Lord Jesus Christ, the Order of St. Benedict of Aviz, and the Order of Santiago) to King João III of the House of Aviz, who proclaimed it hereditary in the Portuguese Crown.[1] Despite this, the monarchs often wore only the insignia of the Order of Christ.[6]

It was during the reign of Maria I that the orders were secularized from religious orders into military orders of merit; the queen further decreed that the insignia of all three orders were to be combined into one, to ensure that no one order was favored above the others.[6] The Sash thus became a unique decoration worn by the monarch, distinguishing them as Grand Master of the Three Military Orders, along with all other Portuguese orders of chivalry.[3] It was also entitled to be worn by the heir to the throne (titled Prince of Brazil, and from 1815 Prince Royal of Portugal) as "Grand Commander of the Three Orders", and on occasion gifted to the consort of the monarch upon their marriage.[7] Other princes of the blood royal (Infantes) belonging to the House of Braganza, meanwhile, were entitled to wear the Sash of the Two Orders.[5]

During the era of the constitutional monarchy, it was customary to confer the Sash on foreign monarchs and heads of state as a diplomatic gesture. In the wake of the revolution of 1910 and the proclamation of the Republic, the Sash was abolished in conjunction with all royal orders (save for the Order of the Tower and Sword). It was later restored in 1918 by decree of President Sidónio Pais, after which it continued to be awarded to foreign heads of state.[8]

In 1962, a new decree restricted the Sash of the Three Orders to a decoration exclusive to the President, and thus could no longer be conferred.[5] To date, Queen Elizabeth II is the sole living foreign recipient of the Sash.

Brazilian lineEdit

The Brazilian branch of the Three Orders' Sash was founded by Emperor Pedro I on 13 May 1825, and was abolished in 1891 by the First Brazilian Republic.[9]


  • The badge of the decoration is an oval in gold filigree, enamelled white on both sides; before 1823, it was made of plain silver or gold with a blank reverse. The medallion depicts within three smaller ovals with the crosses of the three military orders: the order of Christ on top, the order of Aviz on the bottom left, and the order of St. James on the bottom right, each surmounted by a Heart of Jesus decoration. During the era of the monarchy, the badge was surmounted by the royal crown; after 1910 the crown was replaced by a laurel wreath.[5] The Brazilian version of the badge used the imperial crown.[9]
  • The sash of the decoration is constituted of three equal stripes, its colors in the following order: green (Aviz), red (Christ), and violet (St. James); before 1796 the colors were red, green, and red.[5]
  • The star of the decoration is a gilt circle depicting the crosses of the three orders, superimposed on an eight-pointed star in silver with a gold border.[10] Prior to 1962 the decoration used a silver "splendor" of 22 or 24 rays.[5] Upon his abdication, Pedro I wore a modified breast star modeled on that of the Order of the Southern Cross.[9]
  • The rosette of the decoration was first introduced in 2011, and designed to be worn with civilian clothing. It is 12 millimeters in diameter with gold trim, with the same colors as the ribbon.[4]

Notable foreign recipientsEdit


In the official portraits of many of the Portuguese Heads of State from the 19th and 20th centuries, the Sash of the Three Orders is one of the main piece represented:

Several portraits of Portuguese and Brazilian royalty also display the use of the Sash:


  1. ^ a b "História da Banda das Três Ordens". Presidência da República. 28 January 2017. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  2. ^ "Chancelaria: entitades estrangeiras agraciadas com ordens Portuguesas". Presidência da República. 28 January 2017. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Banda das Três Ordens". Presidência da República. 28 January 2017. Retrieved 22 March 2020.
  4. ^ a b "Portuguese Orders of Merit – New Law and Regulations". Phaleristics Academy of Portugal. 21 September 2011. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  5. ^ a b c d e f António M. Trigueiros & Gustav A. Tammann (1997). "The Three Portugese [sic] Military Orders of Knighthood (1789-1910)" (PDF). Orders and Medals Society of America: 15, 17–18. Retrieved 21 March 2020. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  6. ^ a b Bernard Burke, ed. (1858). "Portugal". The Book of Orders of Knighthood and Decorations of Honour. London: Hurst & Blackett. p. 186.
  7. ^ Bragança, Jose Vicente de (2014). "Agraciamentos Portugueses Aos Príncipes da Casa Saxe-Coburgo-Gota" [Portuguese Honours awarded to Princes of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha]. Pro Phalaris (in Portuguese). 9–10: 4, 6. Retrieved 23 March 2020.
  8. ^ "Decree No. 5030". Diário do Governo (in Portuguese) (264). 6 December 1918. Retrieved 26 April 2020.
  9. ^ a b c Trigueiros & Tammann (1997), pp. 19-21
  10. ^ "Insígnias da Banda da Três Ordens". Presidência da República. 28 January 2017. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  11. ^ a b c d Trigueiros, António Miguel (1999), D. João VI e o seu Tempo (PDF) (in Portuguese), Ajuda National Palace, Lisbon: Portuguese Commission on Discoveries, p. 236, archived from the original (PDF) on 29 October 2013, retrieved 10 May 2020
  12. ^ Trigueiros (1999), p. 232
  13. ^ José Martins, "O Rei Chulalongkorn do Sião Visitou Portugal", History between Portugal and Thailand (in Portuguese), archived from the original on 5 March 2016, retrieved 20 May 2020 – via
  14. ^ Bragança, Jose Vicente de (2011). "A Evolução da Banda das Três Ordens Militares (1789-1826)" [The Evolution of the Band of the Three Military Orders (1789-1826)]. Lusíada História (in Portuguese). 2 (8): 280. ISSN 0873-1330. Retrieved 17 March 2020.
  15. ^ Bragança (2011), p. 276
  16. ^ Os portugueses eo Oriente (1840-1940) (in Portuguese). Lisbon: Biblioteca Nacional. 2004. pp. 81–90. ISBN 978-972-565-392-0.
  17. ^ Bragança (2011), p. 282
  18. ^ Bragança (2011), p. 272
  19. ^ Bragança (2014), pp. 7-12
  20. ^ "Banda da Grã-Cruz das Três Ordens" (in Portuguese), Arquivo Histórico da Presidência da República. Retrieved 28 November 2019.
  21. ^ Bragança (2014), p. 11

External linksEdit