Order of the Crown of Italy
|Order of the Crown of Italy|
Insignia of a Knight Grand Cross of the Crown
|Awarded by Italy|
|Type||Order of knighthood|
|Eligibility||Civilian and military divisions|
|Awarded for||Meritorious service or achievement|
|Established||20 February 1868|
|Last awarded||18 March 1983|
|Next (higher)||Civil Order of Savoy|
|Next (lower)||Order of Merit for Labour|
The Order of the Crown of Italy was founded as a national order in 1868 by King Vittorio Emanuele II, to commemorate the unification of Italy in 1861. It was awarded in five degrees for civilian and military merit.
Compared with the older Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (1572), the Order of the Crown of Italy was awarded more liberally and could be conferred on non-Catholics as well; eventually, it became a requirement for a person to have already received the Order of the Crown of Italy in at least the same degree before receiving the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus.
The order has been suppressed by law since the foundation of the Republic in 1946. However, Umberto II did not abdicate his position as fons honorum and it remained under his Grand Mastership as a dynastic order. While the continued use of those decorations conferred prior to 1951 is permitted in Italy, the crowns on the ribbons issued before 1946 must be substituted for as many five pointed stars on military uniforms.
Order of Merit of Savoy
Following the demise of the last reigning monarch in 1983, the order, founded by the first, is no longer bestowed. It was replaced by the Order of Merit of Savoy instituted by his heir, the current head of the former Royal House, in 1988. While the Ordine al merito d'Savoia has never been a national order, it is subsidiary to the Civil Order of Savoy which was. The Order of Merit has around 2,000 members and, as with the Order of the Crown of Italy previously, it is entrusted to the Chancellor of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus.
The various degrees of the order, with corresponding ribbons, were as follows:
|Repubblica Italiana e Casa Savoia|
- The badge of the order was a gilt cross with curved edges, enamelled in white, with the so-called Savoy knots between the arms of the cross. The obverse central disc featured the Iron Crown of Lombardy (as appeared on the Austrian Order of the Iron Crown) on a blue enamel background. The reverse central disc had a black-enamelled eagle bearing the Savoy cross on a golden background.
- The star of the Grand Cross was an eight-pointed faceted silver star; the central disc featured the Iron Crown on a blue enamelled background, surrounded by a white enamel ring bearing the inscription VICT. EMMAN. II REX ITALIAE MDCCCLXVI (Victor Emmanuel II, King of Italy, 1866). There was a black-enamelled eagle bearing the Savoy cross above the star.
- The star of the Grand Officer was an eight-pointed faceted silver star with ball tips at each point and with the obverse of the badge superimposed upon it.
- The ribbon of the order was red-white-red.
- James Whitelaw Hamilton, RSA, artist
- Thomas Hanbury, philanthropist and creator of the Giardini Botanici Hanbury
- Major General Clayton P. Kerr, World War II member of Allied Mission to Italian Army
- Angelo Mastroberardino, founder of the Campanian winery Mastroberardino.
- Brigadier General Billy Mitchell, United States Army air power advocate.
- Charles Poletti, Governor of New York, and Colonel in the United States Army; served in Italy during World War II
- John Rylands, English entrepreneur and philanthropist
- Major General Robert A. McClure, father of U.S. Army Special Operations, Director of Information and Media Control at Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) during World War II
- Founded by Royal Decree No. 4251 of 20 February 1868, renewed by Royal Decree No. 4850 of 24 January 1869, Royal Magistral Decree of 17 November 1907 and Royal Decree No. 276 of 16 March 1911
- Ordini Cavallereschi del Regno d'Italia Corpo della Nobiltà Italiana (retrieved 10 September 2009)
- Statutes of the Order of Merit of Savoy 23 January 1988, revised 10 October 1996
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