Sovereign’s Birthday and New Year Honours
The most common Orders of Chivalry awarded to citizens of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines by the Sovereign are The Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George and The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire. They are awarded twice a year on 1 January (New Year Honours) and on the Sovereign’s official birthday (Birthday Honours). The Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George is the older of the two.
The Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George
The Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George was founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later George IV, while he was acting as Prince Regent for his father, George III. It is named in honour of two military saints, St Michael and St George.
The Order of St Michael and St George is awarded to men and women who render extraordinary or important non-military or loyal service and consists of the Sovereign and a Grand Master, positions currently held by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and His Royal Highness the Duke of Kent respectively, and of 3 classes in order of precedence:
1. “Knights Grand Cross” and Dames Grand Cross” (GCMG)
2. “Knights Commander” (KCMG) and “Dames Commander” (DCMG)
3. “Companions” (CMG)
The insignia of the Order are as follows:
The Collar, worn around the neck is only given to Knights and Dames Grand Cross. It is a gold chain which consists of pieces in the forms of crowned lions alternating with white Maltese Crosses and with the cyphers SM and SG. At the front of the chain, and also at the back, is an Imperial Crown, under which are two gold images of winged lions.
The Star, which is only worn by Knights and Dames Grand Cross and Knights and Dames Commander, includes the Cross of St George, in the centre of which is an image of the St Michael holding a flaming sword and standing on Satan. The image is within a blue circle bearing the motto of the Order, Auspicium Melioris Aevi (Token of a Better Age), in gold letters. The aforementioned Cross and image are on a figure of seven silver rays, with small gold rays between each pair of silver ones, for Knights and Dames Grand Cross, and on a figure of four silver rays for Knights and Dames Commander.
The Badge is a fourteen-pointed white Cross. In the centre of one side is an image of the St Michael holding a flaming sword and standing on Satan. In the centre of the other side is an image of St George slaying a dragon. Each image is surrounded by a blue circle bearing the Motto of the Order in gold letters. Above the Badge is an Imperial Crown. By the Knights Grand Cross and Dames Grand Cross it is worn suspended from the Collar, by Knights Commander and Gentlemen Companion it is suspended on a riband of blue with a central red stripe worn around the neck, by Dames Commander on a bow worn on the left shoulder, and by Ladies Companion on a bow suspended from the neck.
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire was first instituted as an Order of Chivalry by King George V by Letters Patent dated 4 th June 1917, to honour the thousands of people who helped to win the First World War but were not soldiers. It is the newest amongst the Orders of Chivalry, and since its institution Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has made subsequent alterations to the Statutes of Ordinances of the Order. The Order also awards a Civil or Military Order, called the British Empire Medal (BEM), to persons who render meritorious service.
The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire also consists of the Sovereign and a Grand Master, positions currently held by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, and His Royal Highness the Duke of Edinburgh respectively, and of five classes as follows in order of precedence:
1. “Knights Grand Cross” and Dames Grand Cross” (GBE)
2. “Knights Commander” (KBE) and “Dames Commander” (DBE)
3. “Commanders” (CBE)
4. “Officers” (OBE)
5. “Members” (MBE)
Each of these five classes contains two sub-divisions: the first is styled “Military” for members of all the armed forces and the second, “Civil”, and each of these sub-divisions is composed partly of Ordinary and partly of Honorary Members. The Order also awards a Civil or Military Order, called the British Empire Medal (BEM), to persons who render meritorious service.
The Insignia for Commanders, Officers and Members of the Order is a silver gilt or silver badge worn pendant from a rose pink riband edged with pearl grey attached to the left breast of the jackets or outer garment of men, or tied in a bow on the left shoulder by women.
The British Empire Medal for both men and women consists of a circular medal in silver worn on the left side suspended from a clasp ornamented with oak leaves attached to a rose pink riband edged with pearl grey.
Requests for nominations from Buckingham Palace are received by the Governor-General in June and January for the forthcoming New Year Honours and the Birthday Honours, respectively. The British Monarch, as Sovereign of both Orders, appoints all members on the advice of the Government. The number of persons appointed in each class and division of the Orders are set out in their respective Statutes, which explains the quota system usedto give these awards on an annual basis.