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Grand Cross is the highest class in many chivalric orders. Sometimes a holder of the highest class or grade are referred to as "Commander Grand Cross"[A 1], "Knight Grand Cross" or just "Grand Cross"; in other cases the actual insignia is called the "grand cross".
Alternatively, in some other orders, the highest class may be called the "Grand Cordon", "Grand Collar", etc. In those cases, the rank of Grand Cross may come after another rank (e.g. the Portuguese Order of Saint James of the Sword).
In the United Kingdom, the rank entails admission to knighthood, allowing the recipient to use the title 'Sir' (male) or 'Dame' (female) before his or her name. This stands in contrast to the typical practice in other countries where knighthood is conferred at the initial, lowest rank of the order. The grand crosses of the various British orders are usually styled "Knight Grand Cross" or "Dame Grand Cross".
Denomination "Grand Cordons"
The orders in which the highest rank (or second after "Collar") is named "Grand Cordons" include the following orders:
- Belgium: Grand Cordons of the Order of Leopold (highest)
- Egypt: Grand Cordons of the Order of the Nile (highest)
- France: Grand Cross of the Order of the Legion of Honour (highest)
- Italy: Knight Grand Cross decorated with Grand Cordon of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic (highest)
- Japan: Grand Cordons of the Order of the Chrysanthemum (2nd after Collar)
- Japan: Grand Cordons of the Order of the Rising Sun (highest)
- Japan: Grand Cordons of the Order of the Precious Crown (highest)
- Jordan: Grand Cordons of the Order of the Star of Jordan (highest)
- Netherlands: Knight Grand Cross Military William Order (highest)
- Netherlands: Knight Grand Cross Order of the Netherlands Lion (2nd)
- Netherlands: Knight Grand Cross Order of Orange-Nassau (3rd)
- Persia: Grand Cordons of the Order of the Lion and the Sun
- Tunisia: Grand Cordons of the Nichan Iftikhar (highest)
or was the highest :
- Poland: Grand Cordons of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland (highest 1974 to 1991, now Grand Cross)
- The designation (Swedish: Kommendör med stora korset) is used in the Swedish Orders of the Sword, Polar Star and Vasa and in the Finnish Orders of the White Rose and Lion.
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