Order of the Bath
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The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British
order of chivalry An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order (distinction), order of knights, typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic Military order (religious society), military orders of the ...
founded by
George I George I or 1 may refer to: People * Patriarch George I of Alexandria (floruit, fl. 621–631) * George I of Constantinople (d. 686) * George I of Antioch (d. 790) * George I of Abkhazia (ruled 872/3–878/9) * George I of Georgia (d. 1027) * Yuri ...
on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate
medieval In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the post-classical period of global history. It began with the fall of the Western Roman Empire ...
ceremony A ceremony (, ) is a unified ritualistic event with a purpose, usually consisting of a number of artistic components, performed on a special occasion. The word may be of Etruscan language, Etruscan origin, via the Latin ''Glossary of ancient Rom ...
for appointing a
knight A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110–11 " he head of sta ...
, which involved
bathing Bathing is the act of washing the body, usually with water, or the immersion of the body in water. It may be practiced for personal hygiene, religious ritual or therapy, therapeutic purposes. By analogy, especially as a recreational activity, the ...
(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 commonly believed) 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 A statute is a formal written enactment of a legislative authority that governs the legal entities of a city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper ...
and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred. The Order consists of the Sovereign (currently
King Charles III Charles III (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is King of the United Kingdom and the 14 other Commonwealth realms. He was the longest-serving heir apparent and Prince of Wales and, at age 73, became the oldest person to a ...
), the Great Master (currently vacant) 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.''Statutes'' 1925, article 5. Prior to 1815, the order had only a single class—Knight Companion (KB)—which no longer exists. Recipients of the Order are now usually senior military officers or senior civil servants.
Commonwealth A commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good In philosophy, economics, and political science, the common good (also commonwealth, general welfare, or public benefit) is either what is share ...
citizens who are not subjects of the British monarch and foreign nationals 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, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, and The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick (dormant).


History


Knights of the Bath

In the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the Post-classical, post-classical period of World history (field), global history. It began with t ...
,
knighthood A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state (including the Pope) or representative for service to the monarch, the Christian denomination, church or the country, especially in a military capacity. Knighthood ...
was often conferred with elaborate ceremonies. These usually involved the knight-to-be taking a bath (possibly symbolic of spiritual purification)Risk, ''History of the Order of the Bath'', p. 6. 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 A vigil, from the Latin ''vigilia'' meaning ''wakefulness'' (Greek language, Greek: ''pannychis'', or ''agrypnia'' ), is a period of purposeful sleeplessness, an occasion for devotional watching, or an observance. The Italian word ''vigilia'' h ...
. At dawn he made
confession A confession is a statement – made by a person or by a group of persons – acknowledging some personal fact that the person (or the group) would ostensibly prefer to keep hidden. The term presumes that the speaker is providing information th ...
and attended
Mass Mass is an Intrinsic and extrinsic properties, intrinsic property of a body. It was traditionally believed to be related to the physical quantity, quantity of matter in a Physical object, physical body, until the discovery of the atom and par ...
, 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 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 or other animal to move forward or laterally while riding. It is usually used to refine the riding aids (commands) and to back ...
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 A sword is an edged and bladed weapons, edged, bladed weapon intended for manual cutting or thrusting. Its blade, longer than a knife or dagger, is attached to a hilt and can be straight or curved. A thrusting sword tends to have a straighter ...
), thus making him a knight. It was this
accolade The accolade (also known as dubbing or adoubement) ( la, benedictio militis) was the central act in the rite of passage Ceremony, ceremonies conferring knighthood in the Middle Ages. From about 1852, the term ''accolade'' was used much more ge ...
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 A coronation is the act of placement or bestowal of a coronation crown, crown upon a monarch's head. The term also generally refers not only to the physical crowning but to the whole ceremony wherein the act of crowning occurs, along with the ...
of Henry IV in 1399 the full ceremonies were restricted to major royal occasions such as
coronations A coronation is the act of placement or bestowal of a crown upon a monarch's head. The term also generally refers not only to the physical crowning but to the whole ceremony wherein the act of crowning occurs, along with the presentation of o ...
, investitures of the
Prince of Wales Prince of Wales ( cy, Tywysog Cymru, ; la, Princeps Cambriae/Walliae) is a title traditionally given to the heir apparent An heir apparent, often shortened to heir, is a person who is first in an order of succession and cannot be displaced ...
or
royal duke Duke is a male title either of a monarch ruling over a duchy, or of a member of Royal family, royalty, or nobility. As rulers, dukes are ranked below emperors, kings, grand princes, grand dukes, and sovereign princes. As royalty or nobility, t ...
s, and royal weddings, and the knights so created became known as ''Knights of the Bath''.
Knights Bachelor The title of Knight Bachelor is the basic rank granted to a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not inducted as a member of one of the organised Chivalric order, orders of chivalry; it is a part of the British honours system. Knights ...
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 in 1661. From at least 1625, and possibly from the reign of
James I James I may refer to: People *James I of Aragon (1208–1276) *James I of Sicily or James II of Aragon (1267–1327) *James I, Count of La Marche (1319–1362), Count of Ponthieu *James I, Count of Urgell (1321–1347) *James I of Cyprus (1334–13 ...
, Knights of the Bath were using the
motto A motto (derived from the Latin language, Latin , 'mutter', by way of Italian language, Italian , 'word' or 'sentence') is a Sentence (linguistics), sentence or phrase expressing a belief or purpose, or the general motivation or intention of a ...
''Tria juncta in uno'' (
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally a dialect spoken in the lower Tiber area (then known as Latium) around present-day Rome, but through ...
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 is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Wales to its west and Scotland to its north. The Irish Sea lies northwest and the Celtic Sea to the southwest. It is separa ...
,
Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo-Scottish border, border with England to the southeast ...
and either
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
or
Ireland Ireland ( ; ga, Éire ; Ulster Scots dialect, Ulster-Scots: ) is an island in the Atlantic Ocean, North Atlantic Ocean, in Northwestern Europe, north-western Europe. It is separated from Great Britain to its east by the North Channel (Grea ...
, which were held (or claimed in the case of France) by English and, later, 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 The Christian theology, Christian doctrine of the Trinity (, from 'threefold') is the central dogma concerning the nature of God in most Christian churches, which defines Monotheism, one God existing in three wikt:coequal, coequal, wikt:coe ...
. Nicolas quotes a source (although he is sceptical of it) who claims that prior to James I the motto was ''Tria numina juncta 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 egnajuncta 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 (29 August 1669 – 4 March 1744) was an English officer of arms An officer of arms is a person appointed by a sovereign or state with authority to perform one or more of the following functions: * to control and initiate arm ...
,
Garter King of Arms The Garter Principal King of Arms (also Garter King of Arms or simply Garter) is the senior King of Arms, and the senior Officer of Arms of the College of Arms, the heraldic authority with jurisdiction over England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Th ...
, England's highest
heraldic Heraldry is a discipline relating to the design, display and study of armorial bearings (known as armory), as well as related disciplines, such as vexillology, together with the study of ceremony, Imperial, royal and noble ranks, rank and genealo ...
officer. Sir Anthony Wagner, 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 A herald, or a herald of arms, is an officer of arms, ranking between pursuivant and king of arms. The title is commonly applied more broadly to all officers of arms. Heralds were originally courier, messengers sent by monarchs or nobl ...
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 (alternatively marschal or marischal) is a hereditary royal officeholder and chivalric title under the Monarchy of the United Kingdom, sovereign of the United Kingdom used in England (then, following the Act of Union 1800, in the U ...
, which was not hard, their political principles being congruous and their friendship already established, but also to
Sir Robert Walpole Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, (26 August 1676 – 18 March 1745; known between 1725 and 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole) was a British statesman and Whig politician who, as First Lord of the Treasury The first lord of the Treasury is t ...
and the Whig ministry, which can by no means have been easy, considering his known attachment to the
Pretender A pretender is someone who claims to be the rightful ruler of a country although not recognized as such by the current government. The term is often used to suggest that a claim is not legitimate.Curley Jr., Walter J. P. ''Monarchs-in-Waiting'' ...
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 A prime minister, premier or chief of cabinet is the head of the Cabinet (government), cabinet and the leader of the Minister (government), ministers in the Executive (government), executive branch of government, often in a parliamentary syst ...
Sir
Robert Walpole Robert Walpole, 1st Earl of Orford, (26 August 1676 – 18 March 1745; known between 1725 and 1742 as Sir Robert Walpole) was a Kingdom of Great Britain, British statesman and Whigs (British political party), Whig politician who, as First Lor ...
.
The use of honours in the early eighteenth century differed considerably from the modern honours system 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 A peerage is a legal system historically comprising various hereditary titles (and sometimes Life peer, non-hereditary titles) in a number of countries, and composed of assorted Imperial, royal and noble ranks, noble ranks. Peerages include: Aus ...
s and
baronet A baronet ( or ; abbreviated Bart or Bt) or the female equivalent, a baronetess (, , or ; abbreviation Btss), is the holder of a baronetcy, a hereditary title awarded by the British Crown. The title of baronet is mentioned as early as the 14th ...
cies, knighthoods and the Order of the Garter (or the
Order of the Thistle The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is an Chivalric order, order of chivalry associated with Scotland. The current version of the Order was founded in 1687 by James II of England, King James VII of Scotland, who asserted that h ...
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 In modern politics, and history, a parliament is a legislative body of government. Generally, a modern parliament has three functions: Representation (politics), representing the Election#Suffrage, electorate, making laws, and overseeing ...
, 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. He made sure that most of the 36 new honorees were peers and MPs who would provide him with useful connections. 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 ( la, litterae patentes) (plurale tantum, always in the plural) are a type of legal instrument in the form of a published written order issued by a monarch, President (government title), president or other head of state, genera ...
under the Great Seal 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 A sinecure ( or ; from the Latin , 'without', and , 'care') is an office, carrying a salary or otherwise generating income, that requires or involves little or no responsibility, labour, or active service. The term originated in the medieval chu ...
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 The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
: 14 * The Royal Household 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.Risk, p. 16. 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 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 of England, King Henry VII. It is separated from the rest of the ...
in
Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is an historic, mainly Gothic architecture, Gothic Church (building), church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of ...
, on 17 June. 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 The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was the war, military conflict fought in the Iberian Peninsula by Spain, Kingdom of Portugal, Portugal, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, United Kingdom against the invading and occupying ...
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 January 1815, after the end of the
Peninsular War The Peninsular War (1807–1814) was the war, military conflict fought in the Iberian Peninsula by Spain, Kingdom of Portugal, Portugal, and the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, United Kingdom against the invading and occupying ...
, the Prince Regent (later
George IV George IV (George Augustus Frederick; 12 August 1762 – 26 June 1830) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and King of Hanover from the death of his father, King George III, on 29 January 1820, until his own death ten ye ...
) 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 Major general (abbreviated MG, maj. gen. and similar) is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. The disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the apparent confusion of ...
or
rear admiral Rear admiral is a senior naval flag officer rank, equivalent to a major general and air vice marshal and above that of a Commodore (rank), commodore and Captain (naval), captain, but below that of a vice admiral. It is regarded as a two star "a ...
. 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 Lieutenant colonel ( , ) is a rank of commissioned officers in the army, armies, most Marine (armed services), marine forces and some air forces of the world, above a major and below a colonel. Several police forces in the United States use t ...
or
post-captain Post-captain is an obsolete alternative form of the rank of Captain (Royal Navy), captain in the Royal Navy. The term served to distinguish those who were captains by rank from: * Officers in command of a naval vessel, who were (and still are) ...
. The number of Companions was not specified, but they had to have received a
medal A medal or medallion is a small portable artistic object, a thin disc, normally of metal, carrying a design, usually on both sides. They typically have a commemorative purpose of some kind, and many are presented as awards. They may be int ...
or been
mentioned in despatches To be mentioned in dispatches (or despatches, MiD) describes a member of the armed forces whose name appears in an official report written by a superior officer and sent to the high command, in which their gallant or meritorious action in the face ...
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.


Victorian era

In 1847,
Queen Victoria Victoria (Alexandrina Victoria; 24 May 1819 – 22 January 1901) was Queen of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until Death and state funeral of Queen Victoria, her death in 1901. Her reign of 63 years and 21 ...
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, but they did introduce a formal
Investiture Investiture (from the Latin preposition ''in'' and verb ''vestire'', "dress" from ''vestis'' "robe") is a formal installation or ceremony that a person undergoes, often related to membership in Christian religious institutes as well as Christian kn ...
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 1850, a special statute authorised appointments of Knight Commander and Companion, in the Military Division, to
Commissariat A commissariat is a department or organization commanded by a commissary or by a corps of commissaries. In many countries, commissary is a police rank. In those countries, a commissariat is a police station commanded by a commissary. In some ar ...
and Medical officers serving with the
Army An army (from Old French ''armee'', itself derived from the Latin verb ''armāre'', meaning "to arm", and related to the Latin noun ''arma'', meaning "arms" or "weapons"), ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on ...
and
Navy A navy, naval force, or maritime force is the branch of a nation's armed forces principally designated for naval warfare, naval and amphibious warfare; namely, lake-borne, riverine, littoral zone, littoral, or ocean-borne combat operations and ...
, including those serving with the
East India Company The East India Company (EIC) was an English, and later British, joint-stock company founded in 1600 and dissolved in 1874. It was formed to Indian Ocean trade, trade in the Indian Ocean region, initially with the East Indies (the Indian subco ...
. 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 Embroidery is the craft of decorating Textile, fabric or other materials using a sewing needle, needle to apply yarn, thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as pearls, beads, quills, and sequins. In modern days, emb ...
stars. The decision was made to award silver stars to all members, and only require the return of the
Collar Collar may refer to: Human neckwear *Clerical collar (informally ''dog collar''), a distinctive collar used by the clergy of some Christian religious denominations *Collar (clothing), the part of a garment that fastens around or frames the neck ...
. 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.Risk, p. 70.


Contemporary era

In 1910, after his accession to the throne,
George V George V (George Frederick Ernest Albert; 3 June 1865 – 20 January 1936) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 until his death in 1936. Born during the reign of his grandmother Q ...
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 The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George IV, George IV, Prince of Wales, while he was acting as prince regent for his father, George III, King 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 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 of England, King Henry VII. It is separated from the rest of the ...
, 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 the 1971
New Year Honours The New Year Honours is a part of the British honours system In the United Kingdom and the British Overseas Territories, personal bravery, achievement, or service are rewarded with honours. The honours system consists of three types of award: ...
, Jean Nunn became the first woman admitted to the order. In 1975,
Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, (born Lady Alice Christabel Montagu Douglas Scott; 25 December 1901 – 29 October 2004) was the wife of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, (Henry William Frederick Al ...
, an aunt of
Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; 21 April 1926 – 8 September 2022) was Queen of the United Kingdom and other Commonwealth realms from 6 February 1952 until Death and state funeral of Elizabeth II, her death in 2022. She was queen ...
, became the first 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. The second Dame Grand Cross, Sally Davies, was appointed in the
2020 New Year Honours The 2020 New Year Honours are appointments by some of the 16 Commonwealth realms to Orders and decorations of the Commonwealth realms, various orders and honours to recognise and reward good works by citizens of those countries. The New Year Honou ...
.


Composition


Sovereign

The
British Sovereign The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy, constitutional form of government by which a hereditary monarchy, hereditary sovereign reigns as the head of state of the United ...
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 A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state. In the case of its broad associative definition, government normally consists of legislature, executive, and judiciary. 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, (1690 – 5 July 1749), styled Viscount Monthermer until 1705 and Marquess of Monthermer between 1705 and 1709, was a Kingdom of Great Britain, British peer. Life Montagu was an owner of a coal mine. Montagu ...
* 1749–1767: (Vacant) * 1767–1827:
Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany Prince Frederick, Duke of York and Albany (Frederick Augustus; 16 August 1763 – 5 January 1827) was the second son of George III, King of the United Kingdom and King of Hanover, Hanover, and his consort Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. A so ...
* 1827–1830: Prince William, Duke of Clarence and St Andrews (later King William IV) * 1830–1837: (Vacant) * 1837–1843:
Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, (27 January 1773 – 21 April 1843) was the sixth son and ninth child of George III of the United Kingdom, King George III and his queen consort, Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz. He was the only survi ...
* 1843–1861:
Albert, Prince Consort Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha (Franz August Karl Albert Emanuel; 26 August 1819 – 14 December 1861) was the List of British royal consorts, consort of Queen Victoria from Wedding of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and ...
* 1861–1897: (Vacant) * 1897–1901:
Albert Edward, Prince of Wales Edward VII (Albert Edward; 9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland and Emperor of India, from 22 January 1901 until Death and state funeral of Edward VII, his death in 1910. The second chil ...
(later King Edward VII) * 1901–1942:
Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn Prince Arthur, Duke of Connaught and Strathearn (Arthur William Patrick Albert; 1 May 185016 January 1942), was the seventh child and third son of Queen Victoria of the United Kingdom and Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. He served as Gov ...
* 1942–1974:
Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, (Henry William Frederick Albert; 31 March 1900 – 10 June 1974) was the third son and fourth child of King George V and Mary of Teck, Queen Mary. He served as Governor-General of Australia from 1945 to 1947, ...
* 1974–2022:
Charles, Prince of Wales Charles III (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is King of the United Kingdom and the 14 other Commonwealth realms. He was the longest-serving heir apparent and Prince of Wales and, at age 73, became the oldest person to a ...
(later King Charles III) 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 Seal may refer to any of the following: Common uses * Pinniped Pinnipeds (pronounced ), commonly known as seals, are a widely range (biology), distributed and diverse clade of carnivorous, fin-footed, semiaquatic, mostly marine mammal, mar ...
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 British monarch is Sovereign. Appointees are usually officers of the armed forces or senior civil servants, such as permanent secretaries. Members appointed to the Civil Division must "by their personal services to hecrown or by the performance of public duties have merited ... royal favour." Appointments to the Military Division are restricted by the minimum rank of the individual. GCBs hold the rank of
admiral Admiral is one of the highest ranks in some navies. In the Commonwealth nations and the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country Continental ...
in the Royal Navy,
general A general officer is an Officer (armed forces), officer of highest military ranks, high rank in the army, armies, and in some nations' air forces, space forces, and marines or naval infantry. In some usages the term "general officer" refers t ...
in the
British Army The British Army is the principal land warfare force of the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western ...
or
Royal Marines The Corps of Royal Marines (RM), also known as the Royal Marines Commandos, are the UK's special operations capable commando force, amphibious warfare, amphibious light infantry and also one of the :Fighting Arms of the Royal Navy, five fighti ...
, or
air chief marshal Air chief marshal (Air Chf Mshl or ACM) is a high-ranking air officer originating from the Royal Air Force. The rank is used by air forces of many Commonwealth of Nations, countries that have historical British influence. An air chief marshal i ...
in the
Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's Air force, air and space force. It was formed towards the end of the World War I, First World War on 1 April 1918, becoming the first independent air force in the world, by regrouping the Royal ...
.''Statutes'' 1925, article 8. KCBs must at least hold the rank of vice admiral,
lieutenant general Lieutenant general (Lt Gen, LTG and similar) is a three-star military A military, also known collectively as armed forces, is a heavily armed, highly organized force primarily intended for warfare. It is typically authorized and main ...
in the Army or Marines, or air marshal. CBs tend be of the rank of
rear admiral Rear admiral is a senior naval flag officer rank, equivalent to a major general and air vice marshal and above that of a Commodore (rank), commodore and Captain (naval), captain, but below that of a vice admiral. It is regarded as a two star "a ...
,
major general Major general (abbreviated MG, maj. gen. and similar) is a military rank used in many countries. It is derived from the older rank of sergeant major general. The disappearance of the "sergeant" in the title explains the apparent confusion of ...
in the Army, Royal Navy or Royal Marines, or
air vice marshal Air vice-marshal (AVM) is a two-star air officer rank which originated in and continues to be used by the Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's Air force, air and space force. It was formed towards the end of ...
in the Royal Air Force, and in addition must have been
Mentioned in Despatches To be mentioned in dispatches (or despatches, MiD) describes a member of the armed forces whose name appears in an official report written by a superior officer and sent to the high command, in which their gallant or meritorious action in the face ...
for distinction in a command position in a combat situation, although the latter is no longer a requirement. Non-line officers (e.g. engineers, medics) may be appointed only for meritorious service in wartime. Commonwealth citizens not subjects of the British monarch and foreigners may be made Honorary Members. Queen Elizabeth II established the custom of awarding an honorary GCB to visiting (republican) heads of state, for example
Gustav Heinemann Gustav Walter Heinemann (; 23 July 1899 – 7 July 1976) was a German politician who was President of West Germany from 1969 to 1974. He served as mayor of Essen from 1946 to 1949, West German Minister of the Interior from 1949 to 1950, and Minis ...
and
Josip Broz Tito Josip Broz ( sh-Cyrl, Јосип Броз, ; 7 May 1892 – 4 May 1980), commonly known as Tito (; sh-Cyrl, Тито, links=no, ), was a Yugoslav Communism, communist revolutionary and statesman, serving in various positions from 1943 until ...
(in 1972),
Ronald Reagan Ronald Wilson Reagan ( ; February 6, 1911June 5, 2004) was an American politician, actor, and union leader who served as the 40th president of the United States from 1981 to 1989. He also served as the 33rd governor of California from 1967 ...
(in 1989),
Lech Wałęsa Lech Wałęsa (; ; born 29 September 1943) is a Polish statesman, dissident, and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, who served as the President of Poland between 1990 and 1995. After winning the 1990 Polish presidential election, 1990 election, Wa ...
(in 1991), Censu Tabone (in 1992),
Fernando Henrique Cardoso Fernando Henrique Cardoso (; born 18 June 1931), also known by his initials FHC (), is a Brazilian sociologist, professor and politician who served as the 34th president of Brazil from 1 January 1995 to 31 December 2002. He was the first Braz ...
, George H. W. Bush (in 1993),
Nicolas Sarkozy Nicolas Paul Stéphane Sarközy de Nagy-Bocsa (; ; born 28 January 1955) is a French politician who served as President of France from 2007 to 2012. Born in Paris, he is of Hungarian, Greek Jewish, and French origin. Mayor of Neuilly-sur-Sei ...
(in 2008), and
Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (born 9 September 1949), commonly referred to by his initials SBY, is an Indonesian politician and retired Indonesian Army, army general who served as the sixth president of Indonesia from 2004 to 2014. A member of the ...
(in 2012), as well as Turkish President Abdullah Gül, Slovenian President
Danilo Türk Danilo Türk (; born 19 February 1952) is a Slovenian diplomat, professor of international law, human rights expert, and political figure who served as President of Slovenia from 2007 to 2012. He was the first Slovene ambassador to the United Nat ...
, Mexican President Felipe Calderón, and South African President
Jacob Zuma Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma (; born 12 April 1942) is a South African politician who served as the fourth president of South Africa from 2009 to 2018. He is also referred to by his initials JZ and clan name Msholozi, and was a former anti-aparth ...
(Royal Heads of State are instead usually made Stranger Companions of the
Order of the Garter The Most Noble Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by Edward III of England in 1348. It is the most senior order of knighthood in the Orders, decorations, and medals of the United Kingdom, British honours system, outranked in ...
). Foreign generals are also often given honorary appointments to the Order, for example: Marshal
Ferdinand Foch Ferdinand Foch ( , ; 2 October 1851 – 20 March 1929) was a French general and military theorist who served as the Supreme Allied Commander during the World War I, First World War. An aggressive, even reckless commander at the First First Battl ...
and Marshal
Joseph Joffre Joseph Jacques Césaire Joffre (12 January 1852 – 3 January 1931) was a French general who served as Commander-in-Chief of French forces on the Western Front (World War I), Western Front from the start of World War I until the end of 1916. H ...
during the
First World War World War I (28 July 1914 11 November 1918), often abbreviated as WWI, was List of wars and anthropogenic disasters by death toll, one of the deadliest global conflicts in history. Belligerents included much of Europe, the Russian Empire, ...
; Marshal
Georgy Zhukov Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov ( rus, Георгий Константинович Жуков, p=ɡʲɪˈorɡʲɪj kənstɐnʲˈtʲinəvʲɪtɕ ˈʐukəf, a=Ru-Георгий_Константинович_Жуков.ogg; 1 December 1896 – ...
, King Abdul-Aziz of Saudi Arabia, General
Dwight D. Eisenhower Dwight David "Ike" Eisenhower (born David Dwight Eisenhower; ; October 14, 1890 – March 28, 1969) was an American military officer and statesman who served as the 34th president of the United States from 1953 to 1961. During World War II, ...
, General George C. Marshall, General
Douglas MacArthur Douglas MacArthur (26 January 18805 April 1964) was an American military leader who served as General of the Army (United States), General of the Army for the United States, as well as a Field Marshal (Philippines), field marshal to the Phil ...
, and General George S. Patton Jr. during the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
; and General
Norman Schwarzkopf Herbert Norman Schwarzkopf Jr. (; August 22, 1934 – December 27, 2012) was a United States Army general. While serving as the commander of United States Central Command, he led all Coalition of the Gulf War, coalition forces in the Gulf ...
and General
Colin Powell Colin Luther Powell ( ; April 5, 1937 – October 18, 2021) was an American politician, statesman, diplomat, and United States Army officer who served as the 65th United States Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005. He was the List of Africa ...
after the
Gulf War The Gulf War was a 1990–1991 armed campaign waged by a Coalition of the Gulf War, 35-country military coalition in response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait. Spearheaded by the United States, the coalition's efforts against Ba'athist Iraq, ...
. A more controversial member of the Order was
Robert Mugabe Robert Gabriel Mugabe (; ; 21 February 1924 – 6 September 2019) was a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician who served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987 and then as President of Zimbabwe, President from 1987 to 2017. He se ...
, whose honour was stripped by the Queen, on the advice of the
Foreign Secretary The secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs, known as the foreign secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), minister of the Crown of the Government of the United Kingdom and head of the Foreign, Commonwe ...
,
David Miliband David Wright Miliband (born 15 July 1965) is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the International Rescue Committee The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a global humanitarian aid, relief, and development nongovernment ...
, on 25 June 2008 "as a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in Southeast Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the south-west, Zambia to the north, and Mozam ...
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: * Dean:
Dean of Westminster The Dean of Westminster is the head of the chapter at Westminster Abbey. Due to the Abbey's status as a Royal Peculiar, the Dean (Christianity), dean answers directly to the Monarchy of the United Kingdom, British monarch (not to the Bishop of Lo ...
''(ex officio)'', the Very Rev. David Hoyle *
King of Arms King of Arms is the senior rank of an officer of arms. In many heraldry, heraldic traditions, only a king of arms has the authority to grant coat of arms, armorial bearings and sometimes certify genealogies and noble titles. In other tradition ...
: Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton * Registrar and Secretary: Rear Admiral Iain Henderson ''Court Circular'', 13 June 2006. * Deputy Secretary: Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Segrave * Genealogist: David White, Esq. * Gentleman Usher of the Scarlet Rod: Major General James Gordon 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.


Habit and insignia

Members of the Order wear elaborate costumes on important occasions (such as its quadrennial installation ceremonies and
coronations A coronation is the act of placement or bestowal of a crown upon a monarch's head. The term also generally refers not only to the physical crowning but to the whole ceremony wherein the act of crowning occurs, along with the presentation of o ...
), which vary by rank: The ''mantle'', worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross, is made of
crimson Crimson is a rich, deep red color, inclining to purple. It originally meant the color of the kermes (dye), kermes dye produced from a scale insect, ''Kermes vermilio'', but the name is now sometimes also used as a generic term for slightly blu ...
satin A satin weave is a type of Textile, fabric Weaving, weave that produces a characteristically glossy, smooth or lustrous material, typically with a glossy top surface and a dull back. It is one of three fundamental types of textile weaves alon ...
lined with white
taffeta Taffeta (archaically spelled taffety or taffata) is a crisp, smooth, plain woven fabric made from silk Silk is a natural fiber, natural protein fiber, some forms of which can be weaving, woven into textiles. The protein fiber of silk is ...
. On the left side is a representation of the star (see below). The mantle is bound with two large tassels.''Statutes'' 1925, article 23. The ''hat'', worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross and Knights and Dames Commander, is made of black
velvet file:Bitcoin cufflinks (cropped).JPG, Weave details visible on a purple-colored velvet fabric Velvet is a type of woven tufted textile, fabric in which the cut yarn, threads are evenly distributed, with a short pile (textile), pile, giving it ...
; it includes an upright plume of
feather Feathers are epidermis (zoology), epidermal growths that form a distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on both Bird, avian (bird) and some non-avian dinosaurs and other archosaurs. They are the most complex integumentary structures found in ...
s. The ''collar'', worn only by Knights and Dames Grand Cross, is made of gold and weighs 30
troy ounce Troy weight is a system of Physical unit, units of mass that originated in 15th-century England, and is primarily used in the precious metals industry. The troy weight units are the Grain (unit), grain, the pennyweight (24 grains), the troy oun ...
s (933 g). It consists of depictions of nine imperial crowns and eight sets of flowers (
rose A rose is either a woody perennial plant, perennial flowering plant of the genus ''Rosa'' (), in the family Rosaceae (), or the flower it bears. There are over three hundred Rose species, species and Garden roses, tens of thousands of cultivar ...
s for England,
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 can also occur all over the planton the stem and on the flat parts of the leaves. ...
s for Scotland and
shamrock A shamrock is a young sprigging, sprig, used as a symbol of Ireland. Saint Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, is said to have Saint Patrick#Patrick uses shamrock in an illustrative parable, used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity ...
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 The Maltese cross is a cross symbol, consisting of four "V" or arrowhead shaped Dart (geometry), concave quadrilaterals converging at a central vertex (geometry), vertex at right angles, two tips pointing outward symmetrically. It is a herald ...
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 A branch, sometimes called a ramus in botany, is a woody structural member connected to the central trunk of a tree In botany, a tree is a perennial plant with an elongated Plant stem, stem, or trunk (botany), trunk, usually suppo ...
and is above a scroll bearing the words ''Ich dien'' (older German for "I serve") in gold letters. Stylised versions of this are known as ''Bath stars'' and are used as
epaulette Epaulette (; also spelled epaulet) is a type of ornamental shoulder piece or decoration used as insignia of military rank, rank by armed forces and other organizations. Flexible metal epaulettes (usually made from brass) are referred to as ''sh ...
pips to indicate British Army officer ranks and for
police ranks Police ranks are a system of hierarchy, hierarchical relationships in police organizations. The rank system defines authority and responsibility in a police organization, and affects the culture within the police force. Police ranks, dependent on ...
. 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 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 can also occur all over the planton the stem and on the flat parts of the leaves. ...
and a
shamrock A shamrock is a young sprigging, sprig, used as a symbol of Ireland. Saint Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, is said to have Saint Patrick#Patrick uses shamrock in an illustrative parable, used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity ...
, emanating from a
sceptre A sceptre is a staff or wand held in the hand by a ruling monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the hea ...
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 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 can also occur all over the planton the stem and on the flat parts of the leaves. ...
and a
shamrock A shamrock is a young sprigging, sprig, used as a symbol of Ireland. Saint Patrick, Ireland's patron saint, is said to have Saint Patrick#Patrick uses shamrock in an illustrative parable, used it as a metaphor for the Christian Holy Trinity ...
, emanating from a
sceptre A sceptre is a staff or wand held in the hand by a ruling monarch A monarch is a head of stateWebster's II New College DictionarMonarch Houghton Mifflin. Boston. 2001. p. 707. Life tenure, for life or until abdication, and therefore the hea ...
on the reverse side; both emblems are surrounded by a ring bearing the motto of the Order. On certain " collar days" 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 The Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood, or simply the Central Chancery, is an office of the Lord Chamberlain The Lord Chamberlain of the Household is the most senior officer of the Royal Household of the United Kingdom, supervising ...
upon the decease of their owners. All other insignia may be retained by their owners. File:GCB-Military-Star.svg, Star, Knight Grand Cross Military Division File:Knight Commander of the Bath neck badge, awarded to Cecil Fane de Salis (1859-1948) in 1935.jpg, Neck badge, awarded to Cecil Fane de Salis (1859-1948) in 1935 File:Knight Commander of the Bath star, awarded to Cecil Fane de Salis (1859-1948) in 1935.jpg, Star, awarded to Cecil Fane de Salis File:Order of the Bath, Breast Star and Badge, Knight Commander, Saxe-Ernestine House Order, awarded to Major-General Sir Charles Taylor du Plat, British Army - Glenbow Museum - DSC00629.JPG, Star and neck Badge awarded to Sir Charles Taylor du Plat File:Order of the Bath UK ribbon.svg, Medal Ribbon of the Order of the Bath


Chapel

The Chapel of the Order is the
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 of England, King Henry VII. It is separated from the rest of the ...
in
Westminster Abbey Westminster Abbey, formally titled the Collegiate Church of Saint Peter at Westminster, is an historic, mainly Gothic architecture, Gothic Church (building), church in the City of Westminster, London, England, just to the west of the Palace of ...
.''Statutes'' 1925, article 21. The Sovereign, Great Master and the Knights and Dames Grand Cross are allotted stalls in the
choir A choir ( ; also known as a chorale or chorus) is a musical ensemble A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform instrumental and/or vocal music, with the ensemble typically kno ...
of the chapel, above which their heraldic devices are displayed. Every four years, an installation ceremony, presided over by the Great Master, and a religious service are held in the chapel. The last such service was on Tuesday 24 May 2022, and was presided over by the Prince of Wales. The Sovereign and each knight who has been installed is allotted a stall in the
choir A choir ( ; also known as a chorale or chorus) is a musical ensemble A musical ensemble, also known as a music group or musical group, is a group of people who perform instrumental and/or vocal music, with the ensemble typically kno ...
of the chapel. As 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 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 In heraldry, mantling or "lambrequin" (its name in French) is drapery tied to the Helmet (heraldry), helmet above the shield. In paper heraldry it is a depiction of the protective cloth covering (often of linen) worn by knights from their helmet ...
and topped by his crest. Under English heraldic law, women other than monarchs do not bear helms or crests; instead, the
coronet A coronet is a small crown consisting of ornaments fixed on a metal ring. A coronet differs from other kinds of crowns in that a coronet never has arches, and from a tiara in that a coronet completely encircles the head, while a tiara doe ...
appropriate to the dame's rank (if she is a peer or member of
the Royal family A royal family is the immediate family of kings/queens Queens is a Boroughs of New York City, borough of New York City, coextensive with Queens County, in the U.S. state of New York (state), New York. Located on Long Island, it is the lar ...
) is used. Above the crest or coronet, the knight's or dame's heraldic
banner A banner can be a flag or another piece of cloth bearing a symbol, logo, slogan or another message. A flag whose design is the same as the shield in a coat of arms (but usually in a square or rectangular shape) is called a banner of arms. Also, ...
is hung, emblazoned with his or her
coat of arms A coat of arms is a heraldry, heraldic communication design, visual design on an escutcheon (heraldry), escutcheon (i.e., shield), surcoat, or tabard (the latter two being outer garments). The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central ele ...
. At a considerably smaller scale, to the back of the stall is affixed a piece of
brass Brass is an alloy An alloy is a mixture of chemical elements of which at least one is a metal. Unlike chemical compounds with metallic bases, an alloy will retain all the properties of a metal in the resulting material, such as electrical ...
(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 An order of precedence is a sequential hierarchy of nominal importance and can be applied to individuals, groups, or organizations. Most often it is used in the context of people by many organizations and governments, for very formal and state o ...
. 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 for the exact positions.) Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commander prefix " Sir", and Dames Grand Cross and Dames Commander prefix "
Dame ''Dame'' is an honorific title and the feminine form of address for the honour of damehood in many Christian chivalric orders, as well as the Orders, decorations, and medals of the United Kingdom, British honours system and those of several oth ...
", to their forenames. Wives of Knights may prefix "
Lady The word ''lady'' is a term for a girl or woman, with various connotations. Once used to describe only women of a high social class or status, the equivalent of lord, now it may refer to any adult woman, as gentleman can be used for men. Inform ...
" 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 foreign members and clergymen do not receive the accolade of knighthood, and so are not entitled to the prefix "Sir", unless the former subsequently become Commonwealth citizens. Knights and Dames Grand Cross use the
post-nominal Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, post-nominal titles, designatory letters or simply post-nominals, are letters placed after a person's name to indicate that the individual holds a position, academic degree, accreditation, ...
"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 circlet is a piece of headwear that is similar to a diadem or a Corolla (headgear), corolla. The word 'circlet' is also used to refer to the base of a Crown (headgear), crown or a coronet, with or without a Cap (crown), cap. Diadem and circlet ar ...
(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 Heresy is any belief or theory that is strongly at variance with established beliefs or customs, in particular the accepted beliefs of a church or religious organization. The term is usually used in reference to violations of important religi ...
,
high treason Treason is the crime of attacking a state authority to which one owes allegiance. This typically includes acts such as participating in a war against one's native country, attempting to overthrow its government, spying on its military, its diplo ...
, or fleeing from battle out of
cowardice Cowardice is a trait wherein excessive fear prevents an individual from taking a risk or facing danger. It is the opposite of courage. As a label, "cowardice" indicates a failure of character in the face of a challenge. One who succumbs to cowa ...
. 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 .e. stallplateof such knight and spurn it out of the chapel" with "all the usual marks of infamy". Only two people were ever degraded – Lord Cochrane 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 A felony is traditionally considered a crime of high seriousness, whereas a misdemeanor is regarded as less serious. The term "felony" originated from English common law (from the French medieval word "félonie") to describe an offense that resul ...
, 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. In 1923 the Italian dictator
Benito Mussolini Benito Amilcare Andrea Mussolini (; 29 July 188328 April 1945) was an Italian politician and journalist who founded and led the National Fascist Party. He was Prime Minister of Italy from the March on Rome in 1922 until Fall of the Fascist re ...
was made an honorary Knight Grand Cross, by King George V. Mussolini was stripped of his GCB in 1940, after he had declared war on the UK. George Pottinger, a senior civil servant, lost both his status of CB and
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order The Royal Victorian Order (french: Ordre royal de Victoria) is a dynastic order of knighthood established in 1896 by Queen Victoria. It recognises distinguished personal service to the British monarch, Monarchy of Canada, Canadian monarch, Mon ...
(CVO) in 1975 when he was jailed for corruptly receiving gifts from the architect
John Poulson John Garlick Llewellyn Poulson (14 April 1910 – 31 January 1993) was a British architectural designer The term architectural designer may refer to a building designer who is not a registered architect, architectural technologist or any othe ...
. Romanian president
Nicolae Ceauşescu Nicolae may refer to: * Nicolae (name) Nicolae (or Niculae) is a Romanian Romanian may refer to: *anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Romania **Romanians, an ethnic group **Romanian language, a Romance language ***Romanian ...
was stripped of his honorary GCB status by Queen Elizabeth II on 24 December 1989, the day before his execution.
Robert Mugabe Robert Gabriel Mugabe (; ; 21 February 1924 – 6 September 2019) was a Zimbabwean revolutionary and politician who served as Prime Minister of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 1987 and then as President of Zimbabwe, President from 1987 to 2017. He se ...
, the
President of Zimbabwe The president of Zimbabwe is the head of state of Zimbabwe and head of the executive branch of the government of Zimbabwe. The president chairs the national cabinet and is the chief commanding authority of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces. The inc ...
, was stripped of his honorary GCB status by the Queen, on the advice of the
Foreign Secretary The secretary of state for foreign, Commonwealth and development affairs, known as the foreign secretary, is a Secretary of State (United Kingdom), minister of the Crown of the Government of the United Kingdom and head of the Foreign, Commonwe ...
,
David Miliband David Wright Miliband (born 15 July 1965) is the president and chief executive officer (CEO) of the International Rescue Committee The International Rescue Committee (IRC) is a global humanitarian aid, relief, and development nongovernment ...
, on 25 June 2008 "as a mark of revulsion at the abuse of human rights and abject disregard for the democratic process in
Zimbabwe Zimbabwe (), officially the Republic of Zimbabwe, is a landlocked country located in Southeast Africa, between the Zambezi and Limpopo Rivers, bordered by South Africa to the south, Botswana to the south-west, Zambia to the north, and Mozam ...
over which President Mugabe has presided."
Vicky Pryce Vasiliki "Vicky" Pryce (' Kourmouzi ( el, Βασιλική Κουρμούζη); born 15 July 1952) is a Greek-born British economist and a former Joint Head of the United Kingdom's Government Economic Service. She is currently the Chief Economi ...
, former wife of
Chris Huhne Christopher Murray Paul-Huhne (born 2 July 1954), known as Chris Huhne, is a British energy and climate change consultant and former journalist and politician who was the Liberal Democrat Member of Parliament for Eastleigh from 2005 to 2013 ...
, was stripped of her CB by Queen Elizabeth II on 30 July 2013, following her conviction for perverting the course of justice.


Current Knights and Dames Grand Cross

* Sovereign:
King Charles III Charles III (Charles Philip Arthur George; born 14 November 1948) is King of the United Kingdom and the 14 other Commonwealth realms. He was the longest-serving heir apparent and Prince of Wales and, at age 73, became the oldest person to a ...
* Grand Master: Vacant


Knights and Dames Grand Cross


Honorary Knights and Dames Grand Cross


See also

For people who have been appointed to the Order of the Bath, see the following categories: * :Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath * :Dames Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath * :Knights Commander of the Order of the Bath * :Dames Commander of the Order of the Bath * :Knights Companion of the Order of the Bath * List of Knights Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath * List of Knights Companion of the Order of the Bath * :Knights of the Bath * :Companions of the Order of the Bath *
List of honorary British knights and dames This is an incomplete list of people who have been created honorary Knights or Dames by the British crown The Crown is the state in all its aspects within the jurisprudence of the Commonwealth realm A Commonwealth realm is a ...
* 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


Notes


References

* * * Hanham, Andrew. "The Politics of Chivalry: Sir Robert Walpole, the Duke of Montagu and the Order of the Bath." ''Parliamentary History'' 35.3 (2016): 262–297. * * * * * * * * * *


External links


Search recommendations for the Order of the Bath on The UK National Archives' website.


* Cambridge University Heraldic and Genealogical Society
(2002, 2020). "The Most Honourable Order of the Bath".


{{DEFAULTSORT:Order Of The Bath 1725 establishments in Great Britain Awards established in 1725 Bath, Order of the
Bath Bath may refer to: * Bathing, immersion in a fluid ** Bathtub, a large open container for water, in which a person may wash their body ** Public bathing, a public place where people bathe * Thermae, ancient Roman public bathing facilities Plac ...