Royal Victorian Medal

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Royal Victorian Medal
Obverse and reverse (silver medal)
Awarded forPersonal service to the Sovereign or royal family
EligibilityBritish and Commonwealth citizens and non-commissioned personnel
StatusCurrently awarded
EstablishedApril 1896
Ribbon of the medal
Next (higher)Dependent on realm
Next (lower)Dependent on realm

The Royal Victorian Medal (RVM) is a decoration established by Queen Victoria in April 1896.[1] A part of the Royal Victorian Order, it is a reward for personal service to the Sovereign or the royal family, and is the personal gift of the Sovereign.[2] It differs from other grades of the order in appearance and in the way it is worn.[3]

The medal has three levels – bronze, silver, and gold. Medal bars may be awarded to each level of medal to denote subsequent awards.[4] Recipients may continue to wear their original medal if they are awarded a higher level for further service. The medal may also be worn in addition to the insignia of the Royal Victorian Order if the latter is subsequently awarded.[4] Recipients are entitled to use the post-nominal letters RVM.[5]


In creating the Royal Victorian Order in 1896, Queen Victoria decided to include a medal as part of this dynastic order. The medal would be used to reward those who had rendered faithful service to the monarch or the royal family, but were not eligible to be appointed to any orders due to their position or class. This creation followed the precedent of other European monarchs, who had royal household medals with which to reward servants.

The first medals were received on 7 July 1896 and were presented to Russians by the Duke of Connaught while he was in Russia for the coronation of Tsar Nicholas II.[5] On 14 May 1912, King George V further confirmed the institution of the medal with an additional royal warrant.[6]

The medal has been historically used to recognise the service of police officers who work in protective services, gardeners, housekeepers, drivers, valets, and other similar type of staff. Non-commissioned members of the military may also be awarded the medal for services. It is often given for service to the monarch or royal family during royal visits. The medal may be looked upon as a long service medal, but the service must be of a meritorious character to warrant its award.[5]

Originally ranked near the end,[7] the medal now ranks ahead of campaign, jubilee, efficiency, and long service medals in the United Kingdom Order of Wear.[8] This gradual increase in importance was marked by the July 1980 approval, by Queen Elizabeth II, to allow the use of the postnominal RVM by recipients of the medal.[5]


The medal is circular and 28 mm in diameter. It is struck in bronze, silver, or silver-gilt (for the gold medal). The obverse bears the effigy of a young Queen Elizabeth II. Surrounding the effigy is the inscription Elizabeth II Dei Gratia Regina F D. The reverse depicts the royal cypher, surrounded by a wreath or ribbons and laurel leaves. A curled ribbon at the bottom bears the inscription Royal Victorian Medal.[9]

Attached by a ring suspension, the medal is borne by a blue ribbon with thin stripes of white and red on each edge. Awards to foreigners have a white central stripe. The ribbon is the same as that of the Royal Victorian Order. Additional awards of the medal are indicated by bars attached to the ribbon.[9]


Some orders of precedence are as follows:

Country Preceding Following
Australia Australia
Order of precedence[10]
Australian Antarctic Medal
Queen's Gallantry Medal (Pre 1992)
Commendation for Gallantry
British Empire Medal (Pre 1992)
Canada Canada
Order of precedence[11]
Meritorious Service Medal Sacrifice Medal
New Zealand New Zealand
Order of precedence[12]
New Zealand Bravery Medal Queen's Service Medal
United Kingdom United Kingdom
Order of precedence[13]
King's Gallantry Medal British Empire Medal

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "No. 26733". The London Gazette. 24 April 1896. p. 2455.
  2. ^ "DH&R – Canadian Honours Chart". Archived from the original on 23 July 2012. Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  3. ^ "The Governor General of Canada > Orders". Retrieved 27 June 2012.
  4. ^ a b "No. 34290". The London Gazette. 2 June 1936. p. 3518.
  5. ^ a b c d McCreery, Christoper (2008). On Her Majesty's Service: Royal Honours and Recognition in Canada. Dundurn Press Ltd. pp. 57–59. ISBN 978-1770702820.
  6. ^ "No. 28607". The London Gazette. 14 May 1912. pp. 3474–3475.
  7. ^ "No. 35141". The London Gazette (Supplement). 18 April 1941. p. 2288.
  8. ^ "No. 56878". The London Gazette (Supplement). 17 March 2003. p. 3352.
  9. ^ a b McCreery, Christopher (2005). The Canadian Honours System. Dundurn Press Ltd. p. 109. ISBN 1550025546.
  10. ^ "The Order of Wearing of Australian Honours and Awards" (PDF). It's an Honour. Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. 25 September 2007. Retrieved 13 February 2020.
  11. ^ "DH&R – Canadian Honours Chart". Archived from the original on 25 October 2015. Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  12. ^ "NZDF Medals – Order of Wear". Retrieved 26 June 2012.
  13. ^ "No. 62529". The London Gazette (Supplement). 11 January 2019. p. 326.

External links[edit]