Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau

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Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau
Ordre du Lion d'Or de la Maison de Nassau
Huisorde van de Gouden Leeuw van Nassau
De Ordevan de Gouden Leeuw van Nassau.jpg
Plaque, badge and ribbon of the order
Awarded by Grand Duke of Luxembourg
King of the Netherlands
TypeLuxembourg: National Order
Netherlands: House Order
Established31 March 1858
RibbonOrange moiré edged in blue[1]
MottoJe maintiendrai ("I will maintain")
Awarded forLuxembourg: sovereigns, princes of sovereign houses and heads of state for meritorious service to the Grand Duke and country[1]
Netherlands: for people who have rendered special service to the Royal House
StatusCurrently constituted
Grand MastersGrand Duke Henri of Luxembourg
King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands
ChancellorHenri Ahlborn
GradesKnight
Former gradesGrand Cross, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer
Precedence
Next (higher)Luxembourg: None (highest)
Netherlands: Order of Orange-Nassau
Next (lower)Luxembourg: Order of Adolphe of Nassau
Netherlands: Order of the House of Orange
Ordre du Lion d'Or de la Maison de Nassau ribbon.svg
Ribbon bar of the order

The Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau (French: Ordre du Lion d'Or de la Maison de Nassau, Dutch: Huisorde van de Gouden Leeuw van Nassau) is a chivalric order shared by the two branches of the House of Nassau (the Ottonian and Walramian lines).[1]

In the context of the elder Walramian line, this order is the highest Luxembourgian national order and is bestowed by the Grand Duke of Luxembourg.[1] It may be awarded to sovereigns, princes of sovereign houses and heads of state for meritorious service to Luxembourg and the Grand Duke.[1]

In the context of the younger Ottonian line, this order is a house order (dynastic order) of the Dutch Royal House of Orange-Nassau and is awarded as a personal gift by the King of the Netherlands. In this case, the honour is conferred on a person who has rendered special service to the Royal House.[2]

History[edit]

1858–1892[edit]

The order was founded by royal grand-ducal decree on 31 March 1858 by King-Grand Duke William III. The sovereignty of the order was to be shared between both branches of the House of Nassau, under an agreement between William III, King of the Netherlands and Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Adolphe, Duke of Nassau and future Grand Duke of Luxembourg.[1] The order originally included only one grade (i.e. "Knight"), but this was increased to four by William III in 1873:

  1. Grand Cross
  2. Grand Officer
  3. Officer
  4. Knight

The further rank of Commander (in between 2 and 3) was introduced in 1882.[1]

1892–present[edit]

None of the changes made by William III were confirmed by Adolphe, with whom the order was supposed to be shared, and Adolphe refused to award any of the new grades.[1] When William III died without a male heir, the grand duchy of Luxembourg passed to Adolphe, as dictated by the Nassau Family Pact. Two years later, he abolished the grades that William III had created unilaterally and, to this day, the order has maintained just one grade, that of Knight.[1] In 1905, Adolphe agreed with Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands to once again share sovereignty of the order between both ruling branches of the House of Nassau.[1]

At the present time, King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands and Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg are joint Grand Masters of the Order of the Gold Lion of Nassau.

The order is conferred only on rare occasions in the Netherlands or Luxembourg. For example, the former Dutch Foreign Secretaries Max van der Stoel and Pieter Kooijmans were made knights of this order by the Queen of the Netherlands. In 1999, the two Grand Masters made the South African President Nelson Mandela a knight during his state visit to the Netherlands (see Nelson Mandela awards).

Insignia[edit]

A knight wears the order's badge on a sash on the right shoulder, and the plaque (breast star) of the order on the left chest.

  • The badge of the order is a white-enamelled golden Maltese Cross, with the golden monogram "N" between the arms of the cross. The obverse central disc is in blue enamel, bearing the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau. The reverse central disc is also blue enamelled, with the motto Je maintiendrai ("I will maintain") in gold.
  • The plaque is an 8-pointed star with straight silver rays; the same obverse of the badge of the order appears at its centre, surrounded by the motto Je maintiendrai in gold letters on white enamel.
  • The ribbon of the sash of the order is yellow-orange moiré with a small blue stripe at each edge.

Award criteria[edit]

The Hereditary Grand Duke of Luxembourg and The Grand Duke both wearing the insignia of the order. They are accompanied by Grand Duchess Maria Teresa of Luxembourg.

"Honorary distinctions of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg":[1]

The Order of the Gold Lion of the House of Nassau can be conferred on sovereigns and on princes of sovereign houses and, nowadays, also on heads of state, for meritorious service to the Grand Duke and country. The bestowal of the insignia is carried out by the Grand Duke or his specially appointed official representative. The brevet is awarded in agreement with the head of the Ottonian branch of the House of Nassau (The Netherlands).

Princes and Princesses of the House of Nassau[edit]

Princes who are sons or brothers of the heads of the two lines of the House of Nassau are born knights of the order.[1] In 1984, Queen Beatrix and Grand Duke Jean made an agreement that princesses (daughters of the heads of the two lines of the House of Nassau) may be admitted when they reach the age of majority (18).[3]

On 16 February 2009, Princess Alexandra of Luxembourg received the order on her 18th birthday. Now that King Willem-Alexander of the Netherlands is the head of the Dutch branch, his daughters Catharina-Amalia, Princess of Orange, Princess Alexia of the Netherlands and Princess Ariane of the Netherlands are also entitled to receive the order on their 18th birthday.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "Honorary distinctions of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg" (PDF). Service Information et Presse. Retrieved 2007-09-21.
  2. ^ Orders for services to the Royal House - description at the website of the Dutch Royal House (Dutch language)
  3. ^ "Huisorden". www.koninklijkhuis.nl (in Dutch). Retrieved 12 June 2017. De Prinsen, zoons en broers van de Hoofden der beide linies zijn vanaf hun geboorte al ridder in deze Huisorde. In 1984 sloot Koningin Beatrix een overeenkomst met de Groothertog van Luxemburg, waarin werd vastgelegd dat prinsessen, dochters van de hoofden van één van beide takken, ook de graad van Ridder krijgen als zij meerderjarig worden.