Order of the Bath
Overview
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (formerly The Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath) is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 order of chivalry founded by George I
George I of Great Britain
George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 until his death, and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698....

 on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

, which involved bathing
Bathing
Bathing is the washing or cleansing of the body in a fluid, usually water or an aqueous solution. It may be practised for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapeutic purposes or as a recreational activity....

 (as a symbol of purification) as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath. George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order".
Encyclopedia
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (formerly The Most Honourable Military Order of the Bath) is a British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 order of chivalry founded by George I
George I of Great Britain
George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 until his death, and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698....

 on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate mediæval ceremony for creating a knight
Knight
A knight was a member of a class of lower nobility in the High Middle Ages.By the Late Middle Ages, the rank had become associated with the ideals of chivalry, a code of conduct for the perfect courtly Christian warrior....

, which involved bathing
Bathing
Bathing is the washing or cleansing of the body in a fluid, usually water or an aqueous solution. It may be practised for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapeutic purposes or as a recreational activity....

 (as a symbol of purification) as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as Knights of the Bath. George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order". He did not (as is often stated) revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.

The Order consists of the Sovereign (currently Elizabeth II), the Great Master (currently HRH The Prince of Wales
Charles, Prince of Wales
Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Since 1958 his major title has been His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay...

), and three Classes of members:
  • Knight Grand Cross (GCB) or Dame Grand Cross (GCB)
  • Knight Commander (KCB) or Dame Commander (DCB)
  • Companion (CB)

Members belong to either the Civil or the Military Division. Prior to 1815, the order had only a single class, Knights Companion (KB), which no longer exists. Recipients of the Order are now usually senior military officers or senior civil servants. Commonwealth citizens not subjects of the Queen and foreigners may be made Honorary Members.

The Order of the Bath is the fourth-most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry, after The Most Noble Order of the Garter
Order of the Garter
The Most Noble Order of the Garter, founded in 1348, is the highest order of chivalry, or knighthood, existing in England. The order is dedicated to the image and arms of St...

, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle
Order of the Thistle
The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is an order of chivalry associated with Scotland. The current version of the Order was founded in 1687 by King James VII of Scotland who asserted that he was reviving an earlier Order...

, and The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick. The last of the aforementioned Orders, which relates to Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, still exists but has been in disuse since the formation of the Irish Free State
Irish Free State
The Irish Free State was the state established as a Dominion on 6 December 1922 under the Anglo-Irish Treaty, signed by the British government and Irish representatives exactly twelve months beforehand...

.

Knights of the Bath

In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

, knighthood was often conferred with elaborate ceremonies. These usually involved the knight-to-be taking a bath (possibly symbolic of spiritual purification) during which he was instructed in the duties of knighthood by more senior knights. He was then put to bed to dry. Clothed in a special robe, he was led with music to the chapel where he spent the night in a vigil
Vigil
A vigil is a period of purposeful sleeplessness, an occasion for devotional watching, or an observance...

. At dawn he made confession
Confession
This article is for the religious practice of confessing one's sins.Confession is the acknowledgment of sin or wrongs...

 and attended Mass
Mass (liturgy)
"Mass" is one of the names by which the sacrament of the Eucharist is called in the Roman Catholic Church: others are "Eucharist", the "Lord's Supper", the "Breaking of Bread", the "Eucharistic assembly ", the "memorial of the Lord's Passion and Resurrection", the "Holy Sacrifice", the "Holy and...

, then retired to his bed to sleep until it was fully daylight. He was then brought before the King, who after instructing two senior knights to buckle the spur
Spur
A spur is a metal tool designed to be worn in pairs on the heels of riding boots for the purpose of directing a horse to move forward or laterally while riding. It is usually used to refine the riding aids and to back up the natural aids . The spur is used in every equestrian discipline...

s to the knight-elect's heels, fastened a belt around his waist, then struck him on the neck (with either a hand or a sword), thus making him a knight. It was this "accolade
Accolade
In the Middle Ages, the accolade was the central act in the rite-of-passage ceremonies conferring knighthood.-Ceremony:...

" which was the essential act in creating a knight, and a simpler ceremony developed, conferring knighthood merely by striking or touching the knight-to-be on the shoulder with a sword, or "dubbing" him, as is still done today. In the early medieval period the difference seems to have been that the full ceremonies were used for men from more prominent families.

From the coronation of Henry IV
Henry IV of England
Henry IV was King of England and Lord of Ireland . He was the ninth King of England of the House of Plantagenet and also asserted his grandfather's claim to the title King of France. He was born at Bolingbroke Castle in Lincolnshire, hence his other name, Henry Bolingbroke...

 in 1399 the full ceremonies were restricted to major royal occasions such as coronations
Coronation of the British monarch
The coronation of the British monarch is a ceremony in which the monarch of the United Kingdom is formally crowned and invested with regalia...

, investitures of the Prince of Wales or royal Dukes, and royal weddings, and the knights so created became known as Knights of the Bath. Knights Bachelor continued to be created with the simpler form of ceremony. The last occasion on which Knights of the Bath were created was the coronation of Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 in 1661.

From at least 1625, and possibly from the reign of James I
James I of England
James VI and I was King of Scots as James VI from 24 July 1567 and King of England and Ireland as James I from the union of the English and Scottish crowns on 24 March 1603...

, Knights of the Bath were using the motto Tria iuncta in uno (Latin
Latin
Latin is an Italic language originally spoken in Latium and Ancient Rome. It, along with most European languages, is a descendant of the ancient Proto-Indo-European language. Although it is considered a dead language, a number of scholars and members of the Christian clergy speak it fluently, and...

 for "Three joined in one"), and wearing as a badge three crowns within a plain gold oval. These were both subsequently adopted by the Order of the Bath; a similar design of badge is still worn by members of the Civil Division. Their symbolism however is not entirely clear. The 'three joined in one' may be a reference to the kingdoms of England
England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 and either France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

 or Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

, which were held (or claimed in the case of France) by British monarchs. This would correspond to the three crowns in the badge. Another explanation of the motto is that it refers to the Holy Trinity. Nicolas quotes a source (although he is sceptical of it) who claims that prior to James I the motto was Tria numina iuncta in uno, (three powers/gods joined in one), but from the reign of James I the word numina was dropped and the motto understood to mean Tria [regna] iuncta in uno (three kingdoms joined in one).

Foundation of the order

The prime mover in the establishment of the Order of the Bath was John Anstis
John Anstis
John Anstis was an English officer of arms and antiquarian. He rose to the highest heraldic office in England and became Garter King of Arms in 1718 after years of plotting.-Early life:...

, Garter King of Arms
Garter Principal King of Arms
The Garter Principal King of Arms is the senior King of Arms, and the senior Officer of Arms of the College of Arms. He is therefore the most powerful herald within the jurisdiction of the College – primarily England, Wales and Northern Ireland – and so arguably the most powerful in the world...

, England's highest heraldic
Heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

 officer. Sir Anthony Wagner
Anthony Wagner
Sir Anthony Richard Wagner, KCB, KCVO, FSA was a long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. He served as Garter Principal King of Arms before retiring to the post of Clarenceux King of Arms...

, a recent holder of the office of Garter, wrote of Anstis's motivations:

It was Martin Leake's opinion that the trouble and opposition Anstis met with in establishing himself as Garter so embittered him against the herald
Herald
A herald, or, more correctly, a herald of arms, is an officer of arms, ranking between pursuivant and king of arms. The title is often applied erroneously to all officers of arms....

s that when at last in 1718 he succeeded, he made it his prime object to aggrandise himself and his office at their expense. It is clear at least that he set out to make himself indispensable to the Earl Marshal
Earl Marshal
Earl Marshal is a hereditary royal officeholder and chivalric title under the sovereign of the United Kingdom used in England...

, which was not hard, their political principles being congruous and their friendship already established, but also to Sir Robert Walpole
Robert Walpole
Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, KG, KB, PC , known before 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole, was a British statesman who is generally regarded as having been the first Prime Minister of Great Britain....

 and the Whig
British Whig Party
The Whigs were a party in the Parliament of England, Parliament of Great Britain, and Parliament of the United Kingdom, who contested power with the rival Tories from the 1680s to the 1850s. The Whigs' origin lay in constitutional monarchism and opposition to absolute rule...

 ministry, which can by no means have been easy, considering his known attachment to the Pretender
Pretender
A pretender is one who claims entitlement to an unavailable position of honour or rank. Most often it refers to a former monarch, or descendant thereof, whose throne is occupied or claimed by a rival, or has been abolished....

 and the circumstances under which he came into office ... The main object of Anstis's next move, the revival or institution of the Order of the Bath was probably that which it in fact secured, of ingratiating him with the all-powerful Prime Minister
Prime minister
A prime minister is the most senior minister of cabinet in the executive branch of government in a parliamentary system. In many systems, the prime minister selects and may dismiss other members of the cabinet, and allocates posts to members within the government. In most systems, the prime...

 Sir Robert Walpole.


The use of honours in the early eighteenth century differed considerably from the modern honours system
British honours system
The British honours system is a means of rewarding individuals' personal bravery, achievement, or service to the United Kingdom and the British Overseas Territories...

 in which hundreds, if not thousands, of people each year receive honours on the basis of deserving accomplishments. The only honours available at that time were hereditary (not life) peerage
Peerage
The Peerage is a legal system of largely hereditary titles in the United Kingdom, which constitute the ranks of British nobility and is part of the British honours system...

s and baronet
Baronet
A baronet or the rare female equivalent, a baronetess , is the holder of a hereditary baronetcy awarded by the British Crown...

cies, knighthoods and the Order of the Garter (or the Order of the Thistle
Order of the Thistle
The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is an order of chivalry associated with Scotland. The current version of the Order was founded in 1687 by King James VII of Scotland who asserted that he was reviving an earlier Order...

 for Scots), none of which were awarded in large numbers (the Garter and the Thistle are limited to 24 and 16 living members respectively.) The political environment was also significantly different from today:

The Sovereign still exercised a power to be reckoned with in the eighteenth century. The Court remained the centre of the political world. The King was limited in that he had to choose Ministers who could command a majority in Parliament, but the choice remained his. The leader of an administration still had to command the King's personal confidence and approval. A strong following in Parliament depended on being able to supply places, pensions, and other marks of Royal favour to the government's supporters.

The attraction of the new Order for Walpole was that it would provide a source of such favours to strengthen his political position. George I having agreed to Walpole's proposal, Anstis was commissioned to draft statutes for the Order of the Bath. As noted above, he adopted the motto and badge used by the Knights of the Bath, as well as the colour of the riband and mantle, and the ceremony for creating a knight. The rest of the statutes were mostly based on those of the Order of the Garter, of which he was an officer (as Garter King of Arms). The Order was founded by letters patent
Letters patent
Letters patent are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch or president, generally granting an office, right, monopoly, title, or status to a person or corporation...

 under the Great Seal
Great Seal of the Realm
The Great Seal of the Realm or Great Seal of the United Kingdom is a seal that is used to symbolise the Sovereign's approval of important state documents...

 dated 18 May 1725, and the statutes issued the following week.

The Order initially consisted of the Sovereign, a Prince of the blood Royal as Principal Knight, a Great Master and thirty-five Knights Companion. Seven officers (see below) were attached to the Order. These provided yet another opportunity for political patronage, as they were to be sinecure
Sinecure
A sinecure means an office that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service...

s at the disposal of the Great Master, supported by fees from the knights. Despite the fact that the Bath was represented as a military Order, only a few military officers were among the initial appointments (see List of Knights Companion of the Order of the Bath). They may be broken down into categories as follows (note that some are classified in more than one category):
  • Members of the House of Commons
    British House of Commons
    The House of Commons is the lower house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom, which also comprises the Sovereign and the House of Lords . Both Commons and Lords meet in the Palace of Westminster. The Commons is a democratically elected body, consisting of 650 members , who are known as Members...

    : 14
  • The Royal Household
    Royal Household
    A Royal Household in ancient and medieval monarchies formed the basis for the general government of the country as well as providing for the needs of the sovereign and his relations....

     or sinecures: 11
  • Diplomats: 4
  • The Walpole family, including the Prime Minister: 3
  • Naval and Army Officers: 3
  • Irish Peers: 2
  • Country gentlemen with Court Appointments: 2

The majority of the new Knights Companions were knighted by the King and invested with their ribands and badges on 27 May 1725. Although the statutes set out the full medieval ceremony which was to be used for creating knights, this was not performed, and indeed was possibly never intended to be, as the original statutes contained a provision allowing the Great Master to dispense Knights Companion from these requirements. The original knights were dispensed from all the medieval ceremonies with the exception of the Installation, which was performed in the Order's Chapel, the Henry VII Chapel
Henry VII Lady Chapel
The Henry VII Lady Chapel, now more often known just as the Henry VII Chapel, is a large Lady chapel at the far eastern end of Westminster Abbey, paid for by the will of Henry VII. It is separated from the rest of the abbey by brass gates and a flight of stairs.The structure of the chapel is a...

 in Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

, on June 17. This precedent was followed until 1812, after which the Installation was also dispensed with, until its revival in the twentieth century. The ceremonies however remained part of the Statutes until 1847.

Although the initial appointments to the Order were largely political, from the 1770s appointments to the Order were increasingly made for naval, military or diplomatic achievements. This is partly due to the conflicts Britain was engaged in over this period. The Peninsular War
Peninsular War
The Peninsular War was a war between France and the allied powers of Spain, the United Kingdom, and Portugal for control of the Iberian Peninsula during the Napoleonic Wars. The war began when French and Spanish armies crossed Spain and invaded Portugal in 1807. Then, in 1808, France turned on its...

 resulted in so many deserving candidates for the Bath that a statute was issued allowing the appointment of Extra Knights in time of war, who were to be additional to the numerical limits imposed by the statutes, and whose number was not subject to any restrictions. Another statute, this one issued some 80 years earlier, had also added a military note to the Order. Each knight was required, under certain circumstances, to supply and support four men-at-arms for a period not exceeding 42 days in any year, to serve in any part of Great Britain. This company was to be captained by the Great Master, who had to supply four trumpeters, and was also to appoint eight officers for this body, however the statute was never invoked.

Restructuring in 1815

In 1815, with the end of the Napoleonic Wars
Napoleonic Wars
The Napoleonic Wars were a series of wars declared against Napoleon's French Empire by opposing coalitions that ran from 1803 to 1815. As a continuation of the wars sparked by the French Revolution of 1789, they revolutionised European armies and played out on an unprecedented scale, mainly due to...

, the Prince Regent (later George IV
George IV of the United Kingdom
George IV was the King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and also of Hanover from the death of his father, George III, on 29 January 1820 until his own death ten years later...

) expanded the Order of the Bath "to the end that those Officers who have had the opportunities of signalising themselves by eminent services during the late war may share in the honours of the said Order, and that their names may be delivered down to remote posterity, accompanied by the marks of distinction which they have so nobly earned."

The Order was now to consist of three classes: Knights Grand Cross, Knights Commander, and Companions. The existing Knights Companion (of which there were 60) became Knight Grand Cross; this class was limited to 72 members, of which twelve could be appointed for civil or diplomatic services. The military members had to be of the rank of at least Major-General or Rear Admiral. The Knights Commander were limited to 180, exclusive of foreign nationals holding British commissions, up to ten of whom could be appointed as honorary Knights Commander. They had to be of the rank of Lieutenant-Colonel or Post-Captain
Post-Captain
Post-captain is an obsolete alternative form of the rank of captain in the Royal Navy.The term served to distinguish those who were captains by rank from:...

. The number of Companions was not specified, but they had to have received a medal or been mentioned in despatches since the start of the war in 1803. A list of about 500 names was subsequently published. Two further officers were appointed, an "Officer of arms attendant on the Knights Commanders and Companions", and a "Secretary appertaining to the Knights Commanders and Companions" The large increase in numbers caused some complaints that such an expansion would reduce the prestige of the Order.

The Victorian era

In 1847 Queen Victoria issued new statutes eliminating all references to an exclusively military Order. As well as removing the word 'Military' from the full name of the Order, this opened up the grades of Knight Commander and Companion to civil appointments, and the Military and Civil Divisions of the Order were established. New numerical limits were imposed, and the opportunity also taken to regularise the 1815 expansion of the Order. The 1847 statutes also abolished all the medieval ritual, however they did introduce a formal Investiture ceremony, conducted by the Sovereign wearing the Mantle and insignia of the Order, attended by the Officers and as many GCBs as possible, in their Mantles.

In 1859 a further edition of the Statutes was issued; the changes related mainly to the costs associated with the Order. Prior to this date it had been the policy that the insignia (which were provided by the Crown) were to be returned on the death of the holder; the exception had been foreigners who had been awarded honorary membership. In addition foreigners had usually been provided with stars made of silver and diamonds, whereas ordinary members had only embroidered stars. The decision was made to award silver stars to all members, and only require the return of the Collar. The Crown had also been paying the fees due to the officers of the Order for members who had been appointed for the services in the recent war. The fees were abolished and replaced with a salary of approximately the same average value. The offices of Genealogist and Messenger were abolished, and those of Registrar and Secretary combined.

The 20th century

In 1910, after his accession to the throne, George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

 ordered the revival of the Installation ceremony, perhaps prompted by the first Installation ceremony of the more junior Order of St Michael and St George
Order of St Michael and St George
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is an order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later George IV of the United Kingdom, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III....

, held a few years earlier, and the building of a new chapel for the Order of the Thistle in 1911. The Installation ceremony took place on 22 July 1913 in the Henry VII Chapel, and Installations have been held at regular intervals since.

Prior to the 1913 Installation it was necessary to adapt the chapel to accommodate the larger number of members. An appeal was made to the members of the Order, and following the Installation a surplus remained. A Committee was formed from the Officers to administer the 'Bath Chapel Fund', and over time this committee has come to consider other matters than purely financial ones.

Another revision of the statutes of the Order was undertaken in 1925, to consolidate the 41 additional statutes which had been issued since the 1859 revision.

Women were admitted to the Order in 1971. In 1975, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester
Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester
Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester was a member of the British Royal Family, the wife and then widow of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, the third son of George V and Queen Mary.The daughter of the 7th Duke of Buccleuch & Queensberry, Scotland’s largest landowner, her brothers Walter and...

, an aunt of Elizabeth II, became the first (and to date only woman) to reach the highest rank, Dame Grand Cross. Princess Alice (née Douglas-Montagu-Scott) was a direct descendant of the Order's first Great Master, and her husband, who had died the previous year, had also held that office.

Senior civil servants, such as permanent secretaries, and senior members of the armed forces, such as generals, are often appointed to the order. Civil servants associated with the Foreign Office, including ambassadors, are usually appointed to the Order of St Michael and St George
Order of St Michael and St George
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is an order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later George IV of the United Kingdom, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III....

.

Sovereign

The British Sovereign
British monarchy
The monarchy of the United Kingdom is the constitutional monarchy of the United Kingdom and its overseas territories. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, has reigned since 6 February 1952. She and her immediate family undertake various official, ceremonial and representational duties...

 is the Sovereign of the Order of the Bath.
As with all honours except those in the Sovereign's personal gift, the Sovereign makes all appointments to the Order on the advice of the Government.

Great Master

The next-most senior member of the Order is the Great Master, of which there have been nine:
  • 1725–1749: John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu
    John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu
    John Montagu, 2nd Duke of Montagu, KG, KB, PC , styled Viscount Monthermer until 1705 and Marquess of Monthermer between 1705 and 1709, was a British peer...

  • 1749–1767: (vacant)
  • 1767–1827: Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany
    Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany
    The Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany was a member of the Hanoverian and British Royal Family, the second eldest child, and second son, of King George III...

  • 1827–1830: Prince William, Duke of Clarence and St Andrews
    William IV of the United Kingdom
    William IV was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and of Hanover from 26 June 1830 until his death...

     (later King William IV)
  • 1830–1837: (vacant)
  • 1837–1843: Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex
    Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex
    The Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex , was the sixth son of George III of the United Kingdom and his consort, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He was the only surviving son of George III who did not pursue an army or naval career.- Early life :His Royal Highness The Prince Augustus...

  • 1843–1861: Albert, Prince Consort
  • 1861–1897: (vacant)
  • 1897–1901: Albert Edward, Prince of Wales
    Edward VII of the United Kingdom
    Edward VII was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death in 1910...

     (later King Edward VII)
  • 1901–1942: Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
    Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn
    Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn was a member of the shared British and Saxe-Coburg and Gotha royal family who served as the Governor General of Canada, the 10th since Canadian Confederation.Born the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and...

  • 1942–1974: Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester
    Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester
    The Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester was a soldier and member of the British Royal Family, the third son of George V of the United Kingdom and Queen Mary....

  • 1974–present: Charles, Prince of Wales
    Charles, Prince of Wales
    Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the heir apparent and eldest son of Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Since 1958 his major title has been His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales. In Scotland he is additionally known as The Duke of Rothesay...

    .


Originally a Prince of the Blood Royal, as the Principal Knight Companion, ranked next after the sovereign. This position was joined to that of the Great Master in the statutes of 1847. The Great Master and Principal Knight is now either a descendant of George I or "some other exalted personage"; the holder of the office has custody of the seal of the order and is responsible for enforcing the statutes.

Members

The statutes also provide for the following:
  • 120 Knights or Dames Grand Cross (GCB) (of whom the Great Master is the First and Principal)
  • 355 Knights Commander (KCB) or Dames Commander (DCB)
  • 1,925 Companions (CB)


Regular membership is limited to citizens of the United Kingdom and of other Commonwealth countries of which the Queen is Sovereign.
Members appointed to the Civil Division must "by their personal services to [the] crown or by the performance of public duties have merited ... royal favour." Appointments to the Military Division are restricted by the rank of the individual. GCBs must hold the rank of Rear Admiral
Rear Admiral
Rear admiral is a naval commissioned officer rank above that of a commodore and captain, and below that of a vice admiral. It is generally regarded as the lowest of the "admiral" ranks, which are also sometimes referred to as "flag officers" or "flag ranks"...

, Major General or Air Vice Marshal. KCBs must hold the rank of Captain
Captain (Royal Navy)
Captain is a senior officer rank of the Royal Navy. It ranks above Commander and below Commodore and has a NATO ranking code of OF-5. The rank is equivalent to a Colonel in the British Army or Royal Marines and to a Group Captain in the Royal Air Force. The rank of Group Captain is based on the...

 in the Royal Navy, Colonel in the Army or Royal Marines, or Group Captain
Group Captain
Group captain is a senior commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many other Commonwealth countries. It ranks above wing commander and immediately below air commodore...

 in the Royal Air Force. CBs must be of the rank of Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander
Lieutenant Commander is a commissioned officer rank in many navies. The rank is superior to a lieutenant and subordinate to a commander...

, Major or Squadron Leader
Squadron Leader
Squadron Leader is a commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force and the air forces of many countries which have historical British influence. It is also sometimes used as the English translation of an equivalent rank in countries which have a non-English air force-specific rank structure. In these...

, and in addition must have been mentioned in despatches for distinction in a command position in a combat situation. Non-line officers (e.g. engineers, medics) may be appointed only for meritorious service in war time.

Commonwealth citizens not subjects of the Queen and foreigners may be made Honorary Members. Queen Elizabeth II has established the custom of awarding an honorary GCB to visiting heads of state, for example Gustav Heinemann
Gustav Heinemann
Gustav Walter Heinemann, GCB was a German politician. He was Mayor of the city of Essen from 1946 to 1949, West German Minister of the Interior from 1949 to 1950, Minister of Justice from 1966 to 1969 and President of the Federal Republic of Germany from 1969 to 1974.-Early years and professional...

 (in 1972), Ronald Reagan
Ronald Reagan
Ronald Wilson Reagan was the 40th President of the United States , the 33rd Governor of California and, prior to that, a radio, film and television actor....

 (in 1989), Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa
Lech Wałęsa is a Polish politician, trade-union organizer, and human-rights activist. A charismatic leader, he co-founded Solidarity , the Soviet bloc's first independent trade union, won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1983, and served as President of Poland between 1990 and 95.Wałęsa was an electrician...

 (in 1991), Dr. Censu Tabone, President of Malta in 1992, Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Fernando Henrique Cardoso
Fernando Henrique Cardoso – also known by his initials FHC – was the 34th President of the Federative Republic of Brazil for two terms from January 1, 1995 to December 31, 2002. He is an accomplished sociologist, professor and politician...

, George H. W. Bush
George H. W. Bush
George Herbert Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 41st President of the United States . He had previously served as the 43rd Vice President of the United States , a congressman, an ambassador, and Director of Central Intelligence.Bush was born in Milton, Massachusetts, to...

 (in 1993), Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy
Nicolas Sarkozy is the 23rd and current President of the French Republic and ex officio Co-Prince of Andorra. He assumed the office on 16 May 2007 after defeating the Socialist Party candidate Ségolène Royal 10 days earlier....

 in March 2008, Turkish President Abdullah Gül
Abdullah Gül
Dr. Abdullah Gül, GCB is the 11th and current President of the Republic of Turkey, serving in that office since 28 August 2007. He previously served for four months as Prime Minister from 2002-03, and as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 2003-07....

, Slovenia
Slovenia
Slovenia , officially the Republic of Slovenia , is a country in Central and Southeastern Europe touching the Alps and bordering the Mediterranean. Slovenia borders Italy to the west, Croatia to the south and east, Hungary to the northeast, and Austria to the north, and also has a small portion of...

n President Dr Danilo Türk
Danilo Türk
- Early life :Türk was born in a lower middle class family in Maribor, Slovenia . His father died when he was a child. He attended the prestigious II. Gymnasium High school in Maribor. In 1971 he enrolled to the University of Ljubljana where he studied law...

 and most recently Mexican President Felipe Calderón
Felipe Calderón
Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa is the current President of Mexico. He assumed office on December 1, 2006, and was elected for a single six-year term through 2012...

. Foreign generals are also often given honorary appointments to the Order, for example Georgy Zhukov
Georgy Zhukov
Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov , was a Russian career officer in the Red Army who, in the course of World War II, played a pivotal role in leading the Red Army through much of Eastern Europe to liberate the Soviet Union and other nations from the Axis Powers' occupation...

, King Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia, Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight D. Eisenhower
Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower was the 34th President of the United States, from 1953 until 1961. He was a five-star general in the United States Army...

 and Douglas MacArthur
Douglas MacArthur
General of the Army Douglas MacArthur was an American general and field marshal of the Philippine Army. He was a Chief of Staff of the United States Army during the 1930s and played a prominent role in the Pacific theater during World War II. He received the Medal of Honor for his service in the...

 during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, and Norman Schwarzkopf and Colin Powell
Colin Powell
Colin Luther Powell is an American statesman and a retired four-star general in the United States Army. He was the 65th United States Secretary of State, serving under President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2005. He was the first African American to serve in that position. During his military...

 after the Gulf War
Gulf War
The Persian Gulf War , commonly referred to as simply the Gulf War, was a war waged by a U.N.-authorized coalition force from 34 nations led by the United States, against Iraq in response to Iraq's invasion and annexation of Kuwait.The war is also known under other names, such as the First Gulf...

. A more controversial member of the Order was Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the President of Zimbabwe. As one of the leaders of the liberation movement against white-minority rule, he was elected into power in 1980...

, whose honour was stripped by the Queen, on the advice of Foreign Secretary, David Miliband
David Miliband
David Wright Miliband is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for South Shields since 2001, and was the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 2007 to 2010. He is the elder son of the late Marxist theorist Ralph Miliband...

, on 25 June 2008 as "as a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe over which President Mugabe has presided."

Honorary members do not count towards the numerical limits in each class. In addition the statutes allow the Sovereign to exceed the limits in time of war or other exceptional circumstances.

Officers

The Order of the Bath now has six officers:
  • the Dean: John Robert Hall
    John Robert Hall
    John Robert Hall FRSA is an English priest of the Church of England. He is the current Dean of Westminster.-Education:Hall was educated at St Dunstan's College, Catford and St Chad's College, University of Durham...

  • the King of Arms
    King of Arms of the Order of the Bath
    -Kings of Arms:*1725–1745: Grey Longueville*1745–?: Edward Younge *?–1757: William Woodley*1757–1771: Samuel Horsey*1771–1800: Sir Thomas Cullum, 7th Baronet*1800–1829: John Palmer Cullum, Esq. *1829–1864: Algernon Frederick Greville...

    : Adml. The Lord Boyce
    Michael Boyce, Baron Boyce
    Admiral Michael Cecil Boyce, Baron Boyce, KG, GCB, OBE, DL , is a cross bench member of the British House of Lords. Lord Boyce is a former First Sea Lord of the Royal Navy and Chief of the Defence Staff. He was born in Cape Town, South Africa.-Naval career:Educated at Hurstpierpoint College, Boyce...

  • the Registrar and Secretary: R-Adm. Iain Henderson
  • the Deputy Secretary: Lt-Col. Alexander Matheson, younger, of Matheson
  • the Genealogist: vacant
  • the Gentleman Usher of the Scarlet Rod
    Gentleman Usher of the Scarlet Rod
    The Gentleman Usher of the Scarlet Rod is the Gentleman Usher to the Order of the Bath, established in 1725.-Office Holders from 1725:*1725 – ?: Edmund Sawyer*bef. 1763 – aft. 1789: Henry Hill*bef. 1806 – 2 July 1814: Sir Isaac Heard...

    : Maj-Gen. Charles Vyvyan


The office of Dean is held by the Dean of Westminster. The King of Arms, responsible for heraldry
Heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

, is known as the Bath King of Arms; he is not, however, a member of the College of Arms
College of Arms
The College of Arms, or Heralds’ College, is an office regulating heraldry and granting new armorial bearings for England, Wales and Northern Ireland...

, like many heralds. The Order's Usher is known as the Gentleman Usher of the Scarlet Rod; he does not, unlike his Order of the Garter equivalent (the Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod
Black Rod
The Gentleman Usher of the Black Rod, generally shortened to just Black Rod, is an official in the parliaments of several Commonwealth countries. The position originates in the House of Lords of the Parliament of the United Kingdom...

) perform any duties in the House of Lords
House of Lords
The House of Lords is the upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Like the House of Commons, it meets in the Palace of Westminster....

.

There were originally seven officers, each of whom was to receive fees from the Knights Companion both on appointment and annually thereafter. The office of Messenger was abolished in 1859. The office of Genealogist was abolished at the same time, but revived in 1913. The offices of Registrar and Secretary were formally merged in 1859, although the two positions had been held concurrently for the previous century. An Officer of Arms and a Secretary for the Knights Commander and Companions were established in 1815, but abolished in 1847. The office of Deputy Secretary was created in 1925.

Under the Hanoverian kings certain of the officers also held heraldic office. The office of Blanc Coursier Herald of Arms was attached to that of the Genealogist, Brunswick Herald of Arms to the Gentleman Usher, and Bath King of Arms was also made Gloucester King of Arms with heraldic jurisdiction over Wales. This was the result of a move by Anstis to give the holders of these sinecures greater security; the offices of the Order of the Bath were held at the pleasure of the Great Master, while appointments to the heraldic offices were made by the King under the Great Seal and were for life.

Vestments and accoutrements

Members of the Order wear elaborate costumes on important occasions (such as its quadrennial installation ceremonies and coronations
Coronation of the British monarch
The coronation of the British monarch is a ceremony in which the monarch of the United Kingdom is formally crowned and invested with regalia...

), which vary by rank:

The mantle, worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross, is made of crimson satin
Satin
Satin is a weave that typically has a glossy surface and a dull back. It is a warp-dominated weaving technique that forms a minimum number of interlacings in a fabric. If a fabric is formed with a satin weave using filament fibres such as silk, nylon, or polyester, the corresponding fabric is...

 lined with white taffeta
Taffeta
Taffeta is a crisp, smooth plain woven fabric made from silk or synthetic fibers. The word is Persian in origin, and means "twisted woven." It is considered to be a "high end" fabric, suitable for use in ball gowns, wedding dresses, and in interiors for curtains or wallcovering. There are two...

. On the left side is a representation of the star (see below). The mantle is bound with two large tassels.

The hat
Hat
A hat is a head covering. It can be worn for protection against the elements, for ceremonial or religious reasons, for safety, or as a fashion accessory. In the past, hats were an indicator of social status...

, worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross and Knights and Dames Commander, is made of black velvet
Velvet
Velvet is a type of woven tufted fabric in which the cut threads are evenly distributed,with a short dense pile, giving it a distinctive feel.The word 'velvety' is used as an adjective to mean -"smooth like velvet".-Composition:...

; it includes an upright plume of feather
Feather
Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds and some non-avian theropod dinosaurs. They are considered the most complex integumentary structures found in vertebrates, and indeed a premier example of a complex evolutionary novelty. They...

s.

The collar, worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross, is made of gold
Gold
Gold is a chemical element with the symbol Au and an atomic number of 79. Gold is a dense, soft, shiny, malleable and ductile metal. Pure gold has a bright yellow color and luster traditionally considered attractive, which it maintains without oxidizing in air or water. Chemically, gold is a...

 and weighs 30 troy ounce
Troy ounce
The troy ounce is a unit of imperial measure. In the present day it is most commonly used to gauge the weight of precious metals. One troy ounce is nowadays defined as exactly 0.0311034768 kg = 31.1034768 g. There are approximately 32.1507466 troy oz in 1 kg...

s (933 g). It consists of depictions of nine imperial crowns and eight sets of flowers (rose
Rose
A rose is a woody perennial of the genus Rosa, within the family Rosaceae. There are over 100 species. They form a group of erect shrubs, and climbing or trailing plants, with stems that are often armed with sharp prickles. Flowers are large and showy, in colours ranging from white through yellows...

s for England, thistle
Thistle
Thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins, mostly in the family Asteraceae. Prickles often occur all over the plant – on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. These are an adaptation that protects the...

s for Scotland and shamrock
Shamrock
The shamrock is a three-leafed old white clover. It is known as a symbol of Ireland. The name shamrock is derived from Irish , which is the diminutive version of the Irish word for clover ....

s for Ireland), connected by seventeen silver knots.

On lesser occasions, simpler insignia are used:
The star is used only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross and Knights and Dames Commander. Its style varies by rank and division; it is worn pinned to the left breast:

The star for military Knights and Dames Grand Cross consists of a Maltese Cross on top of an eight-pointed silver star; the star for military Knights and Dames Commander is an eight-pointed silver cross pattée. Each bears in the centre three crowns surrounded by a red ring bearing the motto of the Order in gold letters. The circle is flanked by two laurel branches and is above a scroll bearing the words Ich dien (older German
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 for "I serve") in gold letters.

The star for civil Knights and Dames Grand Cross consists of an eight-pointed silver star, without the Maltese cross; the star for civil Knights and Dames Commander is an eight-pointed silver cross pattée. The design of each is the same as the design of the military stars, except that the laurel branches and the words Ich dien are excluded.

The badge varies in design, size and manner of wearing by rank and division. The Knight and Dame Grand Cross' badge is larger than the Knight and Dame Commander's badge, which is in turn larger than the Companion's badge; however, these are all suspended on a crimson ribbon. Knights and Dames Grand Cross wear the badge on a riband or sash, passing from the right shoulder to the left hip. Knights Commander and male Companions wear the badge from a ribbon worn around the neck. Dames Commander and female Companions wear the badge from a bow on the left side:

The military badge is a gold Maltese Cross of eight points, enamelled in white. Each point of the cross is decorated by a small gold ball; each angle has a small figure of a lion. The centre of the cross bears three crowns on the obverse side, and a rose, a thistle
Thistle
Thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins, mostly in the family Asteraceae. Prickles often occur all over the plant – on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. These are an adaptation that protects the...

 and a shamrock
Shamrock
The shamrock is a three-leafed old white clover. It is known as a symbol of Ireland. The name shamrock is derived from Irish , which is the diminutive version of the Irish word for clover ....

, emanating from a sceptre
Sceptre
A sceptre is a symbolic ornamental rod or wand borne in the hand by a ruling monarch as an item of royal or imperial insignia.-Antiquity:...

 on the reverse side. Both emblems are surrounded by a red circular ring bearing the motto of the Order, which are in turn flanked by two laurel branches, above a scroll bearing the words Ich dien in gold letters.

The civil badge is a plain gold oval, bearing three crowns on the obverse side, and a rose, a thistle
Thistle
Thistle is the common name of a group of flowering plants characterised by leaves with sharp prickles on the margins, mostly in the family Asteraceae. Prickles often occur all over the plant – on surfaces such as those of the stem and flat parts of leaves. These are an adaptation that protects the...

 and a shamrock
Shamrock
The shamrock is a three-leafed old white clover. It is known as a symbol of Ireland. The name shamrock is derived from Irish , which is the diminutive version of the Irish word for clover ....

, emanating from a sceptre
Sceptre
A sceptre is a symbolic ornamental rod or wand borne in the hand by a ruling monarch as an item of royal or imperial insignia.-Antiquity:...

 on the reverse side; both emblems are surrounded by a ring bearing the motto of the Order.

On certain "collar day
Collar Day
Collar days are designated days on which the collar forming part of the insignia of certain members of orders of knighthood may be worn. Collars are special large and elaborate metal chains worn over the shoulders, hanging equally in front and back, often tied with a bow at the shoulders, with a...

s" designated by the Sovereign, members attending formal events may wear the Order's collar over their military uniform or eveningwear. When collars are worn (either on collar days or on formal occasions such as coronations), the badge is suspended from the collar.

The collars and badges of Knights and Dames Grand Cross are returned to the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood
Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood
The Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood is a small office within the Royal Household of the Sovereign of the United Kingdom responsible for the administration of Orders of Chivalry and some aspects of honours in general...

 upon the decease of their owners. All other insignia may be retained by their owners.

Chapel

The Chapel of the Order is Henry VII Lady Chapel
Henry VII Lady Chapel
The Henry VII Lady Chapel, now more often known just as the Henry VII Chapel, is a large Lady chapel at the far eastern end of Westminster Abbey, paid for by the will of Henry VII. It is separated from the rest of the abbey by brass gates and a flight of stairs.The structure of the chapel is a...

 in Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
The Collegiate Church of St Peter at Westminster, popularly known as Westminster Abbey, is a large, mainly Gothic church, in the City of Westminster, London, United Kingdom, located just to the west of the Palace of Westminster. It is the traditional place of coronation and burial site for English,...

. Every four years, an installation ceremony, presided over by the Great Master, and a religious service are held in the Chapel; the Sovereign attends every alternate ceremony. The last such service was in May 2006 and was attended by the Sovereign. The Sovereign and each knight who has been installed is allotted a stall in the choir
Cathedral diagram
In Western ecclesiastical architecture, a cathedral diagram is a floor plan showing the sections of walls and piers, giving an idea of the profiles of their columns and ribbing. Light double lines in perimeter walls indicate glazed windows. Dashed lines show the ribs of the vaulting overhead...

 of the chapel. Since there are a limited number of stalls in the Chapel, only the most senior Knights and Dames Grand Cross are installed. A stall made vacant by the death of a military Knight Grand Cross is offered to the next most senior uninstalled military GCB, and similarly for vacancies among civil GCBs. Waits between admission to the Order and installation may be very long; for instance, Marshal of the Air Force Lord Craig of Radley
David Craig, Baron Craig of Radley
Marshal of the Royal Air Force David Brownrigg Craig, Baron Craig of Radley, GCB, OBE , is a retired Royal Air Force officer and member of the House of Lords...

 was created a Knight Grand Cross in 1984, but was not installed until 2006.

Above each stall, the occupant's 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
Coronet
A coronet is a small crown consisting of ornaments fixed on a metal ring. Unlike a crown, a coronet never has arches.The word stems from the Old French coronete, a diminutive of coronne , itself from the Latin corona .Traditionally, such headgear is – as indicated by the German equivalent...

 appropriate to the dame's rank (if she is a peer or member of the Royal family) is used.

Above the crest or coronet, the knight's or dame's heraldic banner
Banner
A banner is a flag or other piece of cloth bearing a symbol, logo, slogan or other message. Banner-making is an ancient craft.The word derives from late Latin bandum, a cloth out of which a flag is made...

 is hung, emblazoned with his or her coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

. At a considerably smaller scale, to the back of the stall is affixed a piece of brass
Brass
Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc; the proportions of zinc and copper can be varied to create a range of brasses with varying properties.In comparison, bronze is principally an alloy of copper and tin...

 (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 (or coronet or crown) 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 now Dames) throughout history.

When the grade of Knight Commander was established in 1815 the regulations specified that they too should have a banner and stall plate affixed in the chapel. This was never implemented (despite some of the KCBs paying the appropriate fees) primarily due to lack of space, although the 1847 statutes allow all three classes to request the erection of a plate in the chapel bearing the member's name, date of nomination, and (for the two higher classes) optionally the coat of arms.

Precedence and privileges

Members of the Order of the Bath are assigned positions in the order of precedence. 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 Commander; relatives of female members, however, are not assigned any special precedence. Generally, individuals can derive precedence from their fathers or husbands, but not from their mothers or wives. (See order of precedence in England and Wales
Order of precedence in England and Wales
The Order of precedence in England and Wales as of 11 May 2010:Names in italics indicate higher precedence elsewhere in the table or precedence in the table for the other sex.- Royal Family :* The Sovereign , regardless of gender...

 for the exact positions.)

Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commander prefix "Sir," and Dames Grand Cross and Dames Commander 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 members and clergymen do not receive the accolade of knighthood.

Knights and Dames Grand Cross use the post-nominal "GCB"; Knights Commander use "KCB"; Dames Commander use "DCB"; Companions use "CB".

Knights and Dames Grand Cross are also entitled to receive heraldic supporters. Furthermore, they may encircle their arms with a depiction of the circlet (a red circle bearing the motto) with the badge pendant thereto and the collar; the former is shown either outside or on top of the latter.

Knights and Dames Commander and Companions may display the circlet, but not the collar, around their arms. The badge is depicted suspended from the collar or circlet. Members of the Military division may encompass the circlet with "two laurel branches issuant from an escrol azure inscribed Ich dien", as appears on the badge.

Members of the Order of the Bath and their children are able to be married in Westminster Abbey in London.

Revocation

It is possible for membership in the Order to be revoked. Under the 1725 statutes the grounds for this were heresy, high treason, or fleeing from battle out of cowardice. Knights Companion could in such cases be degraded at the next Chapter meeting. It was then the duty of the Gentleman Usher to "pluck down the escocheon [i.e. stallplate] of such knight and spurn it out of the chapel" with "all the usual marks of infamy".
Only two people were ever degraded — Lord Cochrane
Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald
Admiral Thomas Cochrane, 10th Earl of Dundonald, 1st Marquess of Maranhão, GCB, ODM , styled Lord Cochrane between 1778 and 1831, was a senior British naval flag officer and radical politician....

 in 1813 and General Sir Eyre Coote in 1816, both for political reasons, rather than any of the grounds given in the statute. Lord Cochrane was subsequently reinstated, but Coote died a few years after his degradation.

Under Queen Victoria's 1847 statutes a member "convicted of treason, cowardice, felony, or any infamous crime derogatory to his honour as a knight or gentleman, or accused and does not submit to trial in a reasonable time, shall be degraded from the Order by a special ordinance signed by the sovereign". The Sovereign was to be the sole judge, and also had the power to restore such members.

The situation today is that membership may be cancelled or annulled, and the entry in the register erased, by an ordinance signed by the Sovereign and sealed with the seal of the Order, on the recommendation of the appropriate Minister. Such cancellations may be subsequently reversed.

William Pottinger, a senior civil servant, lost both his Companionship of the Order of the Bath and CVO
Royal Victorian Order
The Royal Victorian Order is a dynastic order of knighthood and a house order of chivalry recognising distinguished personal service to the order's Sovereign, the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms, any members of her family, or any of her viceroys...

 in 1975 when he was gaoled for corruptly receiving gifts from the architect John Poulson
John Poulson
John Garlick Llewellyn Poulson was a British architect and businessman who caused a major political scandal when his use of bribery was disclosed in 1972. The highest-ranking figure to be forced out was Conservative Home Secretary Reginald Maudling...

.

Romanian president
President of Romania
The President of Romania is the head of state of Romania. The President is directly elected by a two-round system for a five-year term . An individual may serve two terms...

 Nicolae Ceauşescu
Nicolae Ceausescu
Nicolae Ceaușescu was a Romanian Communist politician. He was General Secretary of the Romanian Communist Party from 1965 to 1989, and as such was the country's second and last Communist leader...

 was stripped of his honorary GCB by Queen Elizabeth II on 24 December 1989, the day before his execution.

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe
Robert Gabriel Mugabe is the President of Zimbabwe. As one of the leaders of the liberation movement against white-minority rule, he was elected into power in 1980...

, President of Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a landlocked country located in the southern part of the African continent, between the Zambezi and Limpopo rivers. It is bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the southwest, Zambia and a tip of Namibia to the northwest and Mozambique to the east. Zimbabwe has three...

, was stripped of his honorary GCB by the Queen, on the advice of Foreign Secretary, David Miliband
David Miliband
David Wright Miliband is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for South Shields since 2001, and was the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 2007 to 2010. He is the elder son of the late Marxist theorist Ralph Miliband...

, on 25 June 2008 "as a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in Zimbabwe over which President Mugabe has presided."

See also

For people who have been appointed to the Order of the Bath, see the following categories:
:Category:Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
:Category:Dames Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath
:Category:Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath
:Category:Dames Commander of the Order of the Bath
:Category:Knights Companion of the Order of the Bath
:Category:Knights of the Bath
:Category:Companions of the Order of the Bath
  • List of people who have declined a British honour
  • List of revocations of appointments to orders and awarded decorations and medals of the United Kingdom

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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