Order of St Michael and St George

Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George
Order of Saint Michael and Saint George grand cross collar badge (United Kingdom 1870-1900) - Tallinn Museum of Orders.jpg
Collar and Badge of the Grand Cross
Awarded by
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (Order of St Michael and St George).svg
Sovereign of the United Kingdom
TypeOrder of chivalry
Established28 April 1818
MottoAuspicium Melioris Ævi
Token of a Better Age
Awarded forAt the monarch's pleasure
StatusCurrently constituted
FounderPrince George, Prince Regent
SovereignQueen Elizabeth II
Grand MasterPrince Edward, Duke of Kent
GradesKnight/Dame Grand Cross (GCMG)
Knight/Dame Commander (KCMG/DCMG)
Companion (CMG)
Precedence
Next (higher)Order of the Star of India
Next (lower)Order of the Indian Empire
UK Order St-Michael St-George ribbon.svg
Ribbon bar of the Order of St Michael and St George
Star of a Knight or Dame Grand Cross

The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later King George IV,[1][2] while he was acting as regent for his father, King George III.

It is named in honour of two military saints, St Michael and St George.

The Order of St Michael and St George was originally awarded to those holding commands or high position in the Mediterranean territories acquired in the Napoleonic Wars, and was subsequently extended to holders of similar office or position in other territories of the British Empire.[2] It is at present awarded to men and women who hold high office or who render extraordinary or important non-military service in a foreign country, and can also be conferred for important or loyal service in relation to foreign and Commonwealth affairs.[2]

Description

The Order includes three classes, in descending order of seniority and rank:

  • Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross (GCMG)[1][2]
  • Knight Commander (KCMG) or Dame Commander (DCMG)[1][2]
  • Companion (CMG)[1][2]
Coat of arms of the British monarch as sovereign of the Order of St Michael and St George

It is used to honour individuals who have rendered important services in relation to Commonwealth or foreign nations. People are appointed to the Order rather than awarded it. British Ambassadors to foreign nations are regularly appointed as KCMGs or CMGs. For example, the former British Ambassador to the United States, Sir David Manning, was appointed a CMG when he worked for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and then after his appointment as British Ambassador to the US, he was promoted to a Knight Commander (KCMG). It is the traditional award for members of the FCO.

The Order's motto is Auspicium melioris ævi (Latin for "Token of a better age"). Its patron saints, as the name suggests, are St. Michael the Archangel, and St. George, patron saint of England. One of its primary symbols is that of St Michael trampling over and subduing Satan in battle.

The Order is the sixth-most senior in the British honours system, after The Most Noble Order of the Garter, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, and The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India. The third of the aforementioned Orders—which relates to Ireland, no longer fully a part of the United Kingdom—still exists but is in disuse; no appointments have been made to it since 1936. The last of the Orders on the list, related to India, has also been in disuse since that country's independence in 1947.

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