Royal Victorian Chain
|Royal Victorian Chain|
|Badge of the Royal Victorian Chain|
|Awarded by the
monarch of the United Kingdom
(foundation - 1931)
monarch of the United Kingdom and the Dominions
(1931 - 1952)
monarch of the Commonwealth realms
|Eligibility||Men and women, of any nation|
|Awarded for||At the monarch's pleasure|
|Total inductees||84|
|Ribbon of the Royal Victorian Chain|
The Royal Victorian Chain is an award instituted in 1902 by King Edward VII as a personal award of the monarch (i.e. not an award made on the advice of any Commonwealth realm government). Although it is similarly named (and has a similar insignia and ribbon), the chain is not an award of the Royal Victorian Order.
The chain is in gold, decorated with motifs of Tudor rose, thistle, shamrock, and lotus flower (symbolizing England, Scotland, Ireland, and India, respectively) and a crowned, red enamelled cypher of King Edward VII—ERI (Edwardus Rex Imperator)—surrounded by a gold wreath for men, upon which the badge is suspended. The chain is worn around the collar by men or with the four motifs and some chain links fixed to a riband in the form of bow (blue with red-white-red edges) on the left shoulder by women. However, the Queen's sister, the late Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, in later life chose to wear her chain around the collar, as male recipients do.
The badge is a gold, white enamelled Maltese Cross; the oval-shaped central medallion depicts Victoria's royal and imperial cypher—VRI (Victoria Regina Imperatrix)—on a red background, surrounded by a crown-surmounted blue ring bearing the word Victoria. Both the crown and Queen Victoria's cypher are studded with diamonds.
Eligibility and allocation
The Royal Victorian Chain does not confer upon its recipients any style or title, nor does it give a precedence within any Commonwealth honours system. However, it represents a personal token of high distinction and esteem from the monarch. The chain can be conferred upon men and women, both of the realms and foreign. There are at least 14 recipients living, of whom only four were not heads of state at the time of award.
It has normally served as the senior award for Canadians, who are generally ineligible to receive knighthoods under federal Cabinet policy. Only two Canadians have thus far received the chain: Vincent Massey and Roland Michener, both former governors general.
The Royal Victorian Chain must be returned to the monarch upon the death of the recipient.
List of living recipients of the Royal Victorian Chain
|Name||Known for||Date of appointment||Age|
|King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand||King of Thailand||1960||86|
|Queen Margrethe II of Denmark LG GCVO||Queen of Denmark||1974||74|
|King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden KG GCVO||King of Sweden||1975||68|
|Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands LG GCVO||Former Queen of the Netherlands||1982||76|
|António Ramalho Eanes||Former President of Portugal||1985||79|
|King Juan Carlos I of Spain KG||Former King of Spain||1986||76|
|Richard von Weizsäcker||Former President of Germany||1992||94|
|King Harald V of Norway KG GCVO||King of Norway||1994||77|
|The Earl of Airlie KT GCVO PC JP||Former Lord Chamberlain||1997||88|
|The Lord Carey of Clifton PC||Former Archbishop of Canterbury||2002||78|
|The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT OM ONZ GBE AC QSO GCL CC CMM PC PC ADC(P)||Consort of Queen Elizabeth II||2007||93|
|King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia GCB||King of Saudi Arabia||2007||90|
|Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said GCB GCMG GCVO||Sultan of Oman||2010||73|
|The Lord Williams of Oystermouth PC||Former Archbishop of Canterbury||2012||64|