The Info List - Dame

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is an honorific title and the feminine form of address for the honour of knighthood in the British honours system and the systems of several other Commonwealth countries, such as Australia
and New Zealand, with the masculine form of address being Sir. The word damehood is rarely used, but the official website of the British monarchy uses it as the correct term. A woman appointed to the grades of Dame
Commander or Dame
Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath, the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George, the Royal Victorian Order, or the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
becomes a dame.[1] Since there is no female equivalent to a Knight
Bachelor, women are always appointed to an order of chivalry.[2] Women who are appointed to the Most Noble Order of the Garter or the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle are given the title of Lady
rather than Dame.[3] History[edit] The Order of the Ermine, founded by John V, Duke
of Brittany in 1381, was the first order of chivalry to accept women; however, female knights existed for centuries in many places in the world prior to this.[4] Like their male counterparts, they were distinguished by the flying of coloured banners and generally bore a coat of arms. One woman who participated in tournaments was Joane Agnes Hotot
Agnes Hotot
(born 1378), but she was not the only one.[5][6] Additionally, women adopted certain forms of regalia which became closely associated with the status of knighthood.[7] Unlike the male knights, it was virtually unimaginable to see women taking part in medieval battles or commanding battalions of soldiers, but there are exceptions. Joan of Arc
Joan of Arc
is the most famous. Some wore armour, others commanded troops, and some were members of an official order of chivalry. One woman to wear full armour into battle was the Duchess
Gaita of Lombardy (also called Sikelgaita), who rode beside her Norman mercenary husband, Robert Guiscard.[7] She was a knight in her own right.[7][8] Another was Petronilla de Grandmesnil, Countess of Leicester; wearing a mail hauberk with a sword and a shield, she defended her lands from Henry II of England. She and her husband participated in the rebellion in 1173 against King
Henry II.[8] Formerly, a knight's wife was given the title of "Dame" before her name, but this usage was replaced by "Lady" during the 17th century. The title of dame as the official equivalent of knight was introduced in 1917 with the introduction of the Order of the British Empire, and was subsequently extended to the Royal Victorian Order
Royal Victorian Order
in 1936, the Order of St Michael and St George, and finally the Order of the Bath in 1971. The youngest person to be appointed a dame was Ellen MacArthur[9] at the age of 28. The oldest were Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies
Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies
at the age of 100.[10] Olivia de Havilland
Olivia de Havilland
was appointed just days short of her 101st birthday.[citation needed] Several high-profile figures, including actresses Geraldine McEwan and Vanessa Redgrave, have declined the honour (however Redgrave does hold the lower grade of CBE). Notes[edit]

^ "Dame". Debretts. n.d. Archived from the original on 10 February 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015.  ^ "Knights Bachelor". Debretts. n.d. Archived from the original on 16 March 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015.  ^ "Ladies of the Garter and Ladies of the Thistle". Debretts. n.d. Archived from the original on 15 March 2015. Retrieved 16 January 2015.  ^ Ackermann, G. A. (1855). Ordensbuch sämmtlicher in Europa blühender und erloschener Orden und Ehrenzeichen. Rudolph & Dieterici. ^ F.S.W. (1886) Dame
Heraldry. Boston, MA: D. Lothrop and Company. ^ Starling, E. (1856). Noble Deeds of Woman. Phillips, Sampson. ^ a b c De Marly, D. (1986). Working dress: a history of occupational clothing. Holmes & Meier. ^ a b Kasparek, R. (2014). Knight
of the Grail Code. WestBow Press. ^ "No. 57557". The London Gazette. 2005-02-11. p. 1713.  ^ "Gwen Ffrangcon-Davies". movies.yahoo.com. Archived from the original on April 3, 2015. Retrieved March 3, 2013. 

External links[edit]

Look up dame in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.

Media related to Dames at Wikimedia Commons

v t e

English social honorific titles


Mrs. Miss Ms. Mistress Madam Dame Lady


Mr. Master Esquire Sir Sire Lord


Mx Dr

v t e


Orders, decorations, medals, awards, and honours


Order of chivalry
Order of chivalry
(Military order (in Spain)) Order of merit Dynastic order Royal family order

Other distinctions

Military orders, awards, and decorations

List/List of highest, Campaign medal

Ecclesiastical decoration Civil awards and decorations

Award Prize Medal List

Offices, titles, and styles

Grand Master Chancellor Assessor Bailiff Commander Knight Dame Officer Hospitaller Prior Chaplain Master of ceremonies Postulant Squire Page


Charter Bailiwick Chapter Commandry Obedience Grand Lodge Lodge


Grand Masters of chivalric orders Recipients of orders, decorations, and medals Award

Ceremonies and events

Accolade Vigil Feoffment Vow Passage fee Collar day

Regalia, insignia, and related

Livery collar


Grand Cross Ribbon

Necklet Sash

(Gold, Silver, Bronze) Medal
bar Service ribbon Rosette Award

and symbols

award Devotional medal Badge
(Heraldic badge) Brooch Ring Lapel pin Collar pin Tie clip Tie pin Service lapel button


Fount of honour International Commission on Orders of Chivalry

Related organisations

Fraternity Guild Honor society Learned society Gentlemen's club Fraternal order Self-styled order

Related concepts

Numismatics Heraldry Nobility Order of precedence Honorary degree Service flag Battle honour Campaign streamer Awareness ribbon

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