Royal Victorian Chain

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Royal Victorian Chain
RVO-Star (MVO).jpg
Badge of the Royal Victorian Chain
Awarded by the
UK Arms 1837.svg
monarch of the United Kingdom
(foundation - 1931)
UK Arms 1837.svg
monarch of the United Kingdom and the Dominions
(1931 - 1952)
Royal Cypher of Elizabeth II as Head of the Commonwealth.svg
monarch of the Commonwealth realms
(since 1952)
Type Personal award
Eligibility Men and women, of any nation
Awarded for At the monarch's pleasure
Status Currently awarded
Established 1902
Total inductees 84[citation needed]
Royal Victorian Chain Ribbon.gif
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 cypherVRI (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[edit]

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 12 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.[1]

The Royal Victorian Chain must be returned on the death of the recipient.[2]

List of living recipients of the Royal Victorian Chain[edit]

Name Known for Date of appointment Current age
Thailand King Bhumibol Adulyadej of Thailand King of Thailand 1960 87
Denmark Queen Margrethe II of Denmark LG GCVO Queen of Denmark 1974 75
Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden KG GCVO King of Sweden 1975 69
Netherlands Princess Beatrix of the Netherlands LG GCVO Former Queen of the Netherlands 1982 77
Portugal António Ramalho Eanes Former President of Portugal 1985 80
Spain King Juan Carlos I of Spain KG Former King of Spain 1986 77
Norway King Harald V of Norway KG GCVO King of Norway 1994 78
United Kingdom The Earl of Airlie KT GCVO PC JP Former Lord Chamberlain 1997 89
United Kingdom The Lord Carey of Clifton PC Former Archbishop of Canterbury 2002 79
The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT OM ONZ GBE AK QSO GCL CC CMM PC PC ADC(P)  Consort of Queen Elizabeth II 2007 94
Oman Sultan Qaboos bin Said al Said GCB GCMG GCVO Sultan of Oman 2010 74
United Kingdom The Lord Williams of Oystermouth PC Former Archbishop of Canterbury 2012 65

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Christopher McCreery (2005). The Canadian honours system. Dundurn Press. p. 105. ISBN 1-55002-554-6. 
  2. ^ Christopher McCreery (2008). On Her Majesty's Service: Royal Honours and Recognition in Canada. Dundurn Press. p. 114. ISBN 978-1-55002-742-6. 

External links[edit]