Baden-Powell relates his investiture as a Knight
Commander of the Victorian Order by King Edward VII
at Balmoral Castle in Scotland shortly after his
retirement from active service in the Army in 1909.
From: Baden-Powell, Lessons from the Varsity of
my visit to Balmoral, I had gone there to receive
from His Majesty the honour of knighthood as a Knight
Commander of the Victorian Order. I had arrived in
the late afternoon and was told that the investiture
would take place the following day, but just as I was
dressing for dinner Legge, the King’s Equerry, came
rushing into my room and said that His Majesty wanted
to decorate me at once, and hurried me off to his
diary records: While outside the door Colonel Legge
took off my miniature medals and pinned on two
safety-pins outside my coat, calling at the same time
to a footmen to bring a cushion and another a sword.
was like preparation for an execution.
we walked in.
King, in Highland dress, shook hands, smiling most
genially and kept hold of my hand while he told me
that for my many services in the past and especially
for my present one of organising the Boy Scouts for
the country he proposed to make me a Knight Commander
of the Victorian Order.
then sat down and I knelt on the cushion in front of
him, the equerry handed him the sword and he tapped
me on each shoulder and hung the cross round my neck
and hooked the star of the Order on my coat, and gave
me his hand to kiss. Then he laughingly told me that
his valet would put the ribbon right for me, and out
enough, the other day when I went to hang up my hat
for the first time in the House of Lords, the usher
who received me reminded me that he was that same
valet who had helped me, and he also told me that I
had slept that night in the room next to the King.)
operation delayed me for a few minutes and when I got
down to the drawing-room I found all the party were
awaiting me, and those who possessed the Victorian
Order formed a sort of little Guard of Honour inside
the door waiting to shake me by the hand. It was all
very embarrassing—and very jolly.
I found that the reason for this undue haste was that
the dinner cards were already printed beforehand, and
the Staff Officer in charge of this job had supposed
I would be knighted that day instead of the next, and
had therefore put me down as " Sir Robert,"
and it was in order to make the card correct that the
King had had to do the knighting without delay!
From: Baden-Powell, Lessons from
the Varsity of Life, 1933.
The Royal Victorian Order. British order of
knighthood instituted by Queen Victoria in 1896 to
reward personal services rendered the monarch. As it
is a family order, conferment of this honour is
solely at the discretion of the British sovereign.
other British orders, there is no limit on the number
of members. It was Edward VIII, during his brief
reign (1936), who admitted women to the order. This
was the first British order to consist of more than
three classes which, listed in descending order, are
knight or dame grand cross (G.C.V.O.), knight or dame
commander (K.C.V.O. or D.C.V.O., respectively),
commander (C.V.O.), lieutenant (L.V.O.), and member
(M.V.O.). Conferment of the two highest classes
entails admission into knighthood. Foreigners can be
admitted as honorary members.
day of the order is June 20, marking the date of
Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne. Since 1938,
the Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy, London, has been the
chapel of the order, where the royal family and
knights and dames grand cross have affixed their
stall plates bearing their coats of arms. The order’s
badge depicts a Maltese Cross with the motto
"Victoria," the initials
"V.R.I.," and an imperial crown. Associated
with this order is the Royal Victorian Medal, awarded
for personal military service to the monarch.
Victorian Order." Britannica Online.
[May 18, 1997]