Star and Riband of a Knight Grand Cross
of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George

The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George

Sir Robert Baden-Powell, G.C.M.G.

From: Baden-Powell, Lessons from the Varsity of Life, 1933


On our return home in 1927 I was surprised by the King conferring upon me the high honour of the Grand Cross of St. Michael and St. George.

As I have shown elsewhere I had more than once—in fact three times I believe—been recommended for the C.M.G. (Companion of St. Michael and St. George, or nicknamed " Colonial Made Gentleman ") for services in Ashanti, Swaziland, and Matabeleland respectively. These having been denied naturally provoked the desire for this Order, though as a rule I have no liking for Orders (and consequently find myself plastered with them). But the C.M.G. I did covet. And here I found myself suddenly invested with the Grand Cross.

I wrote very baldly to the King's Private Secretary, who was a personal friend, telling my delight and my reason for it and I believe he went and showed my letter to His Majesty. This was scarcely fair on me but at any rate it told truthfully my appreciation.

The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George.
British order of knighthood founded in 1818 by the prince regent, later King George IV, to commemorate the British protectorate over the Ionian islands and Malta, which came under British rule in 1814.

Originally membership was exclusively for the inhabitants of the Ionian islands and Malta, as well as for British citizens who had performed important government services in the Mediterranean area. Since 1879 any citizen of the United Kingdom has been eligible; however, it is an honour conferred mostly on officials in colonial affairs, foreign-service officers and diplomats, and others who have performed important duties in Commonwealth countries. Foreigners can be admitted as "honorary members."

William IV instituted the three classes of knights of the order, which (in descending order of rank) are knight grand cross or dame grand cross (G.C.M.G.), knight commander or dame commander (K.C.M.G. or D.C.M.G., respectively), and companion (C.M.G.). Membership is limited to 120 knights grand cross, 390 knights commanders, and 1,775 companions. Conferment of the two highest classes of the order entails admission into knighthood. The order's officers are prelate, chancellor, secretary, king of arms, registrar, and gentleman usher of the Blue Rod.

The chapel of the order, dedicated in 1906, is in St. Paul's Cathedral, London, and contains the banners and coats of arms of the knights grand cross. The order's badge depicts St. Michael encountering the devil, emblazoned with the order's motto Auspicium melioris aevi ("Augury of a better age"); the other side portrays St. George and the dragon.

"Order of Saint Michael and Saint George." Britannica Online.
[May 24, 1997]

The ribbon on the left displays the colors of the Order.

Sir Robert Baden-Powell
Lord Baden-Powell of Gilwell
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Last Modified: 10:10 AM on May 18, 1997

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