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The Order of Merit
Order of Merit
(French: Ordre du Mérite)[n 1] is an order of merit recognising distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture. Established in 1902 by King Edward VII, admission into the order remains the personal gift of its Sovereign—currently Edward VII's great-granddaughter, Queen Elizabeth II—and is restricted to a maximum of 24 living recipients from the Commonwealth realms, plus a limited number of honorary members.[1][2] While all members are awarded the right to use the post-nominal letters OM and wear the badge of the order,[3] the Order of Merit's precedence among other honours differs between countries.

Contents

1 History 2 Eligibility and appointment 3 Current members

3.1 Substantive members 3.2 Honorary members

4 Precedence 5 Notes 6 Citations 7 References 8 External links

History[edit] The first mention of a possible Order of Merit
Order of Merit
was made following the Battle of Trafalgar
Battle of Trafalgar
in 1805, in correspondence between First Lord of the Admiralty Lord Barham and William Pitt, though nothing came of the idea.[4] Later, it was thought by Queen Victoria, her courtiers, and politicians alike,[5] that a new order, based on the Prussian order Pour le Mérite, would make up for the insufficient recognition offered by the established honours system to achievement outside of public service, in fields such as art, music, literature, industry, and science.[4] Victoria's husband, Albert, Prince Consort, took an interest in the matter; it was recorded in his diary that he met on 16 January 1844 with Robert Peel
Robert Peel
to discuss the "idea of institution of a civil Order of Merit" and, three days later, he conferred with the Queen on the subject.[6] The concept did not wither and, on 5 January 1888, British prime minister Lord Salisbury submitted to the Queen a draft constitution for an Order of Merit
Order of Merit
in Science and Art, consisting of one grade split into two branches of knighthood: the Order of Scientific Merit for Knights of Merit in Science, with the post-nominal letters KMS, and the Order of Artistic Merit for Knights of Merit in Art, with the post-nominal letters KMA. However, Sir Frederic Leighton, President of the Royal Academy, advised against the new order, primarily because of its selection process.[7]

King Edward VII, founder of the Order of Merit

Victoria's son, King Edward VII, eventually founded the Order of Merit on 26 June 1902 (the date for which his coronation had been originally planned[8]) as a means to acknowledge "exceptionally meritorious service in Our Navy and Our Army, or who may have rendered exceptionally meritorious service towards the advancement of Art, Literature and Science".[9] All modern aspects of the order were established under his direction, including the division for military figures.[3] From the outset, prime ministers attempted to propose candidates or lobbied to influence the monarch's decision on appointments, but the Royal Household adamantly guarded information about potential names.[3] After 1931, when the Statute of Westminster came into being and the Dominions of the British Empire
British Empire
became independent countries, equal in status to the UK, the Order of Merit
Order of Merit
continued as an honour open to all these realms and, in many, became a part of their national honours systems.[10][11] The order's statutes were amended in 1935 to include members of the Royal Air Force
Royal Air Force
and, in 1969, the definition of honorary recipients was expanded to include members of the Commonwealth of Nations
Commonwealth of Nations
that are not realms. From its inception, the order has been open to women, Florence Nightingale being the first woman to receive the honour, in 1907. Several individuals have refused admission into the Order of Merit, such as Rudyard Kipling, A. E. Housman, and George Bernard Shaw. To date, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, remains the youngest person ever inducted into the Order of Merit, having been admitted by Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II
in 1968, when he was 47 years of age.[3] Eligibility and appointment[edit]

Reverse of the badge

All citizens of the Commonwealth realms are eligible for appointment to the Order of Merit.[10] There may be, however, only 24 living individuals in the order at any given time, not including honorary appointees, and new members are personally selected by the reigning monarch of the realms, currently Queen Elizabeth II, with the assistance of her private secretaries;[3] the order has thus been described as "quite possibly, the most prestigious honour one can receive on planet Earth."[12] Within the limited membership is a designated military division, with its own unique insignia; though it has not been abolished, it is currently unpopulated, Lord Mountbatten of Burma having been the last person so honoured.[3] Honorary members form another group, to which there is no numerical limit, though such appointments are rare; individuals from countries in the Commonwealth of Nations that are not headed by Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II
are therefore considered foreigners, and thus are granted only honorary admissions, such as Nelson Mandela
Nelson Mandela
(South Africa) and Mother Teresa
Mother Teresa
(India).[1] Upon admission into the Order of Merit, members are entitled to use the post-nominal letters OM and are entrusted with the badge of the order, consisting of a golden crown from which is suspended a red enamelled cross, itself centred by a disk of blue enamel, surrounded by a laurel wreath, and bearing in gold lettering the words FOR MERIT;[13] the insignia for the military grouping is distinguished by a pair of crossed swords behind the central disk.[2] The ribbon of the Order of Merit
Order of Merit
is divided into two stripes of red and blue. Men wear their badges on a neck ribbon, while women carry theirs on a ribbon bow pinned to the left shoulder, and aides-de-camp may wear the insignia on their aiguillettes.[13] Since 1991, it has been required that the insignia be returned upon the recipient's death.[14] Current members[edit] Further information: List of members of the Order of Merit

Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II Secretary and Registrar: The Lord Fellowes GCB GCVO QSO PC

Substantive members[edit]

Member number Name Known for Date of appointment Present age

1-(122)[n 2] The Duke of Edinburgh KG KT OM GCVO GBE AK ONZ QSO GCL CC CMM CD PC PC (Can) ADC(P) Consort of Elizabeth II[15] 10 June 1968[16] 96

2-(162) Sir Michael Atiyah
Michael Atiyah
OM FRS FRSE FMedSci FREng Mathematician, Fields Medalist, Abel laureate, and former President of the Royal Society 17 November 1992[16] 88

3-(166) Sir Aaron Klug
Aaron Klug
OM HonFRMS PRS Biophysicist, Nobel laureate, and former President of the Royal Society 23 October 1995[16] 91

4-(169) The Lord Foster of Thames Bank OM Architect and Pritzker laureate 25 November 1997[16] 82

5-(175) Sir Roger Penrose
Roger Penrose
OM FRS Mathematical physicist 9 May 2000[16] 86

6-(176) Sir Tom Stoppard
Tom Stoppard
OM CBE FRSL Playwright 9 May 2000[16] 80

7-(177) The Prince of Wales KG KT GCB OM AK CC QSO CD Heir apparent to Elizabeth II 27 June 2002[16] 69

8-(178) The Lord May of Oxford OM AC FRS FAA FTSE FRSN Ecologist and former President of the Royal Society 28 October 2002[16] 80

9-(179) The Lord Rothschild OM GBE FBA Philanthropist 28 October 2002[16] 81

10-(180) Sir David Attenborough
David Attenborough
OM CH CVO CBE FRS FLS FZS FSA Broadcaster and naturalist 10 June 2005[16] 91

11-(181) The Baroness Boothroyd OM PC First female Speaker of the House of Commons of the United Kingdom 10 June 2005[16] 88

12-(182) Sir Michael Howard OM CH CBE MC FBA Military historian 10 June 2005[16] 95

13-(183) The Lord Eames OM Former Primate of All Ireland and former Archbishop of Armagh 13 June 2007[16] 80

14-(184) Sir Tim Berners-Lee
Tim Berners-Lee
OM KBE FRS FREng FRSA FBCS Inventor of the World Wide Web
World Wide Web
and Director of the World Wide Web Consortium 13 June 2007[16] 62

15-(185) The Lord Rees of Ludlow OM FRS FREng FMedSci FRAS Astronomer Royal
Astronomer Royal
and former President of the Royal Society 13 June 2007[16] 75

16-(186) Jean Chrétien
Jean Chrétien
PC OM CC QC Former Prime Minister of Canada 13 July 2009[17] 84

17-(187) Neil MacGregor
Neil MacGregor
OM AO FSA Art historian and former Director of the British Museum 4 November 2010[18] 71

18-(188) David Hockney
David Hockney
OM CH RA Artist 1 January 2012[19] 80

19-(189) John Howard
John Howard
OM AC Former Prime Minister of Australia 1 January 2012[19] 78

20-(190) Sir Simon Rattle
Simon Rattle
OM CBE Orchestral conductor 1 January 2014 [20] 63

21-(192) Sir Magdi Yacoub
Magdi Yacoub
OM FRS Cardiothoracic surgeon 1 January 2014[20] 82

22-(193) The Lord Darzi of Denham OM KBE PC FRS FMedSci FRCSI FRCS FRCSE FRCPGlas FACS FRCP FREng Surgeon 31 December 2015[21] 57

23-(194) Dame Ann Dowling
Ann Dowling
OM DBE FRS FREng Mechanical engineer 31 December 2015[21] 65

24-(195) Sir James Dyson
James Dyson
OM CBE FRS FREng Inventor and industrial designer 31 December 2015[21] 70

Honorary members[edit] There have been no honorary members of the Order of Merit
Order of Merit
since the death of the last such member, Nelson Mandela, in December 2013. Precedence[edit] As the Order of Merit
Order of Merit
is open to the citizens of sixteen different countries, each with their own system of orders, decorations, and medals, the order's place of precedence varies from country to country. While, in the United Kingdom, the order's postnominal letters follow those of Knights and Dames Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath, membership in the Order of Merit
Order of Merit
itself gives members no place in any of the orders of precedence in the United Kingdom. However, it has been claimed by Stanley Martin, in his book The Order of Merit 1902–2002: One Hundred Years of Matchless Honour, that the Order of Merit is the pinnacle of the British honours system.[22] Similarly, though it was not listed in the Canadian order of precedence for honours, decorations, and medals until December 2010,[23] except relating to those who were appointed to the order prior to 1 June 1972,[24] Christopher McCreery, an expert on Canadian honours and secretary to the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia, stated that the Order of Merit
Order of Merit
was the highest civilian award for merit a Canadian could receive.[25][26] Some orders of precedence are as follows:

Country Preceding Following

Australia Order of precedence Knight/Lady of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle (KT/LT) Knight/Dame of the Order of Australia
Australia
(AK/AD)

Canada Order of precedence Cross of Valour (CV) Companion of the Order of Canada
Companion of the Order of Canada
(CC)

New Zealand Order of precedence Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath
(GCB) Member of the Order of New Zealand
New Zealand
(ONZ)[27]

United Kingdom Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath
(GCB) Baronet's Badge (Bt)[28]

Notes[edit]

^ For use in Canada, in accordance with the country's policy of official bilingualism. ^ The number shown in brackets is the individual's place in the wider order of appointment since the Order of Merit's inception.

Citations[edit]

^ a b The Royal Household. "Order of Merit". Queen's Printer. Retrieved 28 July 2009.  ^ a b Office of the Governor General of Canada. "The Order of Merit". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 4 October 2017.  ^ a b c d e f Jackson, Michael D. (2007), "The Order of Merit 1902–2002: One Hundred Years of Matchless Honour" (PDF), Canadian Monarchist News, Toronto: Monarchist League of Canada, Summer 2007 (26): 15, archived from the original (PDF) on 8 July 2009, retrieved 28 July 2009  ^ a b Martin 2007, p. 11 ^ Martin 2007, p. 12 ^ Martin 2007, p. 13 ^ Martin 2007, pp. 18–20 ^ Martin 2007, p. 1 ^ Mountbatten, Philip (2007), "Foreword", written at London, in Martin, Stanley, The Order of Merit: One Hundred Years of Matchless Honour, New York: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., pp. xvii, ISBN 978-1-86064-848-9  ^ a b Office of the Governor General of Canada. "Honours > Orders > Order of Merit". Queen's Printer for Canada. Retrieved 28 March 2014.  ^ McCreery, Christopher (2005). The Canadian Honours System. Toronto: Dundurn Press. p. 98. ISBN 9781550025545.  ^ Editorial Board (15 July 2009), "Order Worthy?", National Post, retrieved 29 July 2009 [dead link] ^ a b Clarence House. "For Children > Medals and Uniforms > Medals > Picture 4: The Order of Merit". Queen's Printer. Retrieved 29 July 2009.  ^ Martin 2007, p. 56 ^ Curry, Bill (26 April 2013). "Prince Philip first Royal to be awarded Order of Canada". The Globe and Mail.  ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o The Royal Household. "The Queen and the UK > Queen and Honours > Order of Merit
Order of Merit
> List of current members". Queen's Printer. Retrieved 15 August 2009.  ^ "Queen gives Chrétien Order of Merit". CBC. 13 July 2009. Retrieved 15 August 2009.  ^ The Royal Household. "Mr Neil MacGregor
Neil MacGregor
appointed to the Order of Merit, 4 November 2010". Queen's Printer. Retrieved 4 November 2010.  ^ a b The Royal Household. "Appointments to the Order of Merit". Queen's Printer. Archived from the original on 7 January 2012. Retrieved 1 January 2012.  ^ a b "New Year Honours 2013: The Full List". The Guardian. 30 December 2013. Retrieved 30 December 2013.  ^ a b c "New Year's Honours 2016". 30 December 2015. Retrieved 3 January 2016.  ^ Jackson, Michael D. (2007). "The Order of Merit
Order of Merit
1902–2002: One Hundred Years of Matchless Honour by Stanley Martin, CD" (PDF). Canadian Monarchist News. Toronto: Monarchist League of Canada. Summer 2007 (26): 15. Archived from the original (PDF) on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 15 December 2013.  ^ Government of Canada
Canada
(8 December 2010). " Order of Merit
Order of Merit
(O.M.) Order". Canada
Canada
Gazette. Queen's Printer for Canada. 144 (25). SI/2010-88. Archived from the original on 19 December 2010. Retrieved 10 December 2010.  ^ Office of the Governor General of Canada. "Honours > Order of Precedence". Queen's Printer for Canada. Archived from the original on 9 October 2006. Retrieved 24 July 2009.  ^ McCreery, Christopher (2005), The Order of Canada: Its Origins, History and Development, Toronto: University of Toronto Press, ISBN 0-8020-3940-5  ^ Taber, Jane (15 July 2009), "Chrétien 'thrilled' by rare honour from Queen", The Globe and Mail, retrieved 24 July 2009  ^ New Zealand
New Zealand
Defence Force. "Medals Home > general medals information > order of wear". Queen's Printer for New Zealand. Retrieved 30 July 2009.  ^ "No. 56878". The London Gazette
The London Gazette
(Supplement). 17 March 2003. p. 3351. 

References[edit]

Martin, Stanley (2007), The Order of Merit: One Hundred Years of Matchless Honour, New York City: I.B. Tauris & Co. Ltd., ISBN 978-1-86064-848-9 

External links[edit]

 "Merit, Order of". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.   "Merit, Order of". New International Encyclopedia. 1905. 

v t e

Australian royal honours

(Order of wearing)

Orders

Order of the Garter

Knight Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter
Order of the Garter
(KG) Lady Companion of the Most Noble Order of the Garter
Order of the Garter
(LG)

Order of the Thistle

Knight Companion of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle (KT) Lady Companion of the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle (LT)

Order of Merit

Member of the Order of Merit
Member of the Order of Merit
(OM)

Royal Victorian Order

Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order
Royal Victorian Order
(GCVO) Knight/Dame Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
(KCVO/DCVO) Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
Commander of the Royal Victorian Order
(CVO) Lieutenant of the Royal Victorian Order
Royal Victorian Order
(LVO) Member of the Royal Victorian Order
Royal Victorian Order
(MVO)

Order of Saint John

Bailiff/Dame Grand Cross of the Venerable Order of Saint John Knight/Dame of Justice of the Venerable Order of Saint John Knight/Dame of Grace of the Venerable Order of Saint John Chaplain/Commander of the Venerable Order of Saint John Officer of the Venerable Order of Saint John Member of the Venerable Order of Saint John Serving Brother/Serving Sister of the Venerable Order of Saint John Esquire of the Venerable Order of Saint John

Meritorious service

Royal Victorian Medal (RVM)

Commemorative

Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II
Golden Jubilee Medal Queen Elizabeth II
Elizabeth II
Diamond Jubilee Medal

v t e

Orders, decorations, and medals of Canada

Awards of valour

Victoria Cross Cross of Valour

National orders

Order of Canada Order of Military Merit Order of Merit
Order of Merit
of the Police Forces

Dynastic orders

Order of Merit Royal Victorian Order Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St. John of Jerusalem

Provincial orders

Alberta Order of Excellence Order of British Columbia Order of Manitoba Order of New Brunswick Order of Newfoundland and Labrador Order of Nova Scotia Order of Ontario Order of Prince Edward Island National Order of Quebec Saskatchewan Order of Merit

Territorial orders

Order of the Northwest Territories Order of Nunavut Yukon Territory Order of Polaris

Other decorations and medals

Royal Victorian Chain Decorations War and operational service medals Special
Special
service medals United Nations medals NATO medals International mission medals Commemorative medals Long service and good conduct medals Exemplary service medals Special
Special
Medals

v t e

Orders, decorations, and medals of the United Kingdom

Orders

Current

Garter Thistle Bath Merit St Michael and St George Royal Victorian Distinguished Service British Empire Imperial Service Companions of Honour St John

Dormant

St Patrick Royal Guelphic Crown of India Star of India Indian Empire Indian Merit British India Burma

Other

Royal Victorian Chain Hereditary peerage Life peerage Privy Counsellor Baronet Knight Bachelor Aide-de-camp
Aide-de-camp
(ADC) Honours of other Commonwealth realms

Current awards

Level 1

Victoria Cross
Victoria Cross
(VC) George Cross
George Cross
(GC)

Level 2A

Distinguished Service Order
Distinguished Service Order
(DSO) Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
(CGC) Royal Red Cross
Royal Red Cross
Class I (RRC)

Level 2B

George Medal
George Medal
(GM) Queen's Police Medal, for Gallantry (QPM) Queen's Fire Service Medal, for Gallantry (QFSM)

Level 3A

Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Military Cross
Military Cross
(MC) Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) Air Force Cross (AFC) Royal Red Cross
Royal Red Cross
Class II (ARRC)

Level 3B

Constabulary Medal (Ireland) Sea Gallantry Medal (SGM) Queen's Gallantry Medal (QGM) Royal Victorian Medal (RVM) British Empire
British Empire
Medal (BEM) Queen's Police Medal, for Distinguished Service (QPM) Queen's Fire Service Medal, for Distinguished Service (QFSM) Queen's Ambulance Service Medal (QAM) Queen's Volunteer Reserves Medal
Queen's Volunteer Reserves Medal
(QVRM) Polar Medal (PM) Imperial Service Medal
Imperial Service Medal
(ISM) Overseas Territories Police Medal
Overseas Territories Police Medal
(CPM) Merchant Navy Medal for Meritorious Service

Level 4

Mentioned in Despatches Queen's Commendation for Bravery Queen's Commendation for Bravery
Queen's Commendation for Bravery
in the Air Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service

Other

Badge of Honour

Obsolete awards

Level 1

Indian Order of Merit
Indian Order of Merit
(First Class) (IOM) Albert Medal (1st class) (AM) Edward Medal
Edward Medal
(1st class) (EM) Empire Gallantry Medal
Empire Gallantry Medal
(EGM)

Level 2A

Indian Order of Merit
Indian Order of Merit
(Second Class) (IOM) Distinguished Conduct Medal
Distinguished Conduct Medal
(DCM) Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
(CGM) Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
Conspicuous Gallantry Medal
(Flying) (CGM)

Level 2B

Albert Medal (2nd class) (AM) Edward Medal
Edward Medal
(2nd class) (EM) Union of South Africa King's Medal for Bravery, Gold

Level 3A

Order of British India
Order of British India
(First Class) (OBI) Order of British India
Order of British India
(Second Class) (OBI) Indian Order of Merit
Indian Order of Merit
(Third Class) (IOM) Royal West African Frontier Force Distinguished Conduct Medal King's African Rifles Distinguished Conduct Medal Indian Distinguished Service Medal (IDSM) Distinguished Service Medal (DSM) Military Medal
Military Medal
(MM) Distinguished Flying Medal
Distinguished Flying Medal
(DFM) Air Force Medal
Air Force Medal
(AFM) Burma Gallantry Medal (BGM)

Level 3B

Union of South Africa Queen's Medal for Bravery (Silver) Kaisar-i-Hind Medal
Kaisar-i-Hind Medal
(Gold, Silver, Bronze) Indian Police Medal, for Gallantry Ceylon Police Medal, for Gallantry Sierra Leone Police Medal, for Gallantry Sierra Leone Fire Brigades Medal, for Gallantry Colonial Police Medal, for Gallantry (CPM) Canada
Canada
Medal (CM) Queen's Medal for Chiefs Indian Police Medal, for Meritorious Service Ceylon Police Medal, for Merit Sierra Leone Police Medal, for Meritorious Service Sierra Leone Fire Brigades Medal, for Meritorious Service

Level 4

King's/Queen's Commendation for Brave Conduct King's/ Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service
Queen's Commendation for Valuable Service
in the Air

Royal family orders

King George IV Victoria and Albert King Edward VII King George V King George VI Queen Elizabeth II

See also British campaign

.