Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George | Wikipedia audio article

Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George | Wikipedia audio article


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, 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. 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.==Description==
The Order includes three classes, in descending order of seniority and rank: Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross (GCMG)
Knight Commander (KCMG) or Dame Commander (DCMG)
Companion (CMG) 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.==History==The Prince Regent founded the Order to commemorate
the British amical protectorate over the Ionian Islands, which had come under British control
in 1814 and had been granted their own constitution as the United States of the Ionian Islands
in 1817. It was intended to reward “natives of the
Ionian Islands and of the island of Malta and its dependencies, and for such other subjects
of His Majesty as may hold high and confidential situations in the Mediterranean”.In 1864,
however, the protectorate ended and the Ionian Islands became part of Greece. A revision of the basis of the Order in 1868,
saw membership granted to those who “hold high and confidential offices within Her Majesty’s
colonial possessions, and in reward for services rendered to the Crown in relation to the foreign
affairs of the Empire”. Accordingly, numerous Governors-General and
Governors feature as recipients of awards in the order. In 1965 the order was opened to women, with
Evelyn Bark becoming the first female CMG in 1967.==Composition==
The British Sovereign is the Sovereign of the Order and appoints all other members of
the Order (by convention, on the advice of the Government). The next-most senior member is the Grand Master. The office was formerly filled by the Lord
High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands; now, however, Grand Masters are chosen by the Sovereign. Grand Masters include: 1818–1825: Sir Thomas Maitland
1825–1850: Prince Adolphus, Duke of Cambridge 1850–1904: Prince George, Duke of Cambridge
1904–1910: George, Prince of Wales 1910–1917: None
1917–1936: Edward, Prince of Wales 1936–1957: Alexander Cambridge, 1st Earl
of Athlone 1957–1959: Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax
1959–1967: Harold Alexander, 1st Earl Alexander of Tunis
1967–present: Prince Edward, Duke of KentThe Order originally included 15 Knights Grand
Cross, 20 Knights Commanders, and 25 Companions but has since been expanded and the current
limits on membership are 125, 375, and 1,750 respectively. Members of the Royal Family who are appointed
to the Order do not count towards the limit, nor do foreign members appointed as “honorary
members”.===Officers===
The Order has six officers. The Order’s King of Arms is not a member of
the College of Arms, like many other heraldic officers. The Usher of the Order is known as the Gentleman
or Lady Usher of the Blue Rod. Blue Rod does not, unlike the usher of the
Order of the Garter, perform any duties related to the House of Lords. Prelate – The Rt. Rev. David Urquhart (Bishop of Birmingham)
Chancellor – Rt Hon. Lord Robertson of Port Ellen
Secretary – Sir Simon McDonald Registrar – Sir David Manning
King of Arms – Sir Jeremy Greenstock Lady Usher of the Blue Rod – Dame DeAnne
Julius==
Habit and insignia==Members of the Order wear elaborate regalia
on important occasions (such as coronations), which vary by rank: The mantle, worn only by Knights and Dames
Grand Cross, is made of Saxon blue satin lined with crimson silk. On the left side is a representation of the
star (see below). The mantle is bound with two large tassels. The collar, worn only by Knights and Dames
Grand Cross, is made of gold. It consists of depictions of crowned lions,
Maltese Crosses, and the cyphers “SM” and “SG”, all alternately. In the centre are two winged lions, each holding
a book and seven arrows.At less important occasions, simpler insignia are used: The star is an insignia used only by Knights
and Dames Grand Cross and Knights and Dames Commanders. It is worn pinned to the left breast. The Knight and Dame Grand Cross’ star includes
seven-armed, silver-rayed ‘Maltese Asterisk’ (for want of a better description—see image
of badge), with a gold ray in between each pair of arms. The Knight and Dame Commander’s star is a
slightly smaller eight-pointed silver figure formed by two Maltese Crosses; it does not
include any gold rays. In each case, the star bears a red cross of
St George. In the centre of the star is a dark blue ring
bearing the motto of the Order. Within the ring is a representation of St
Michael trampling on Satan. The badge is the only insignia used by all
members of the Order; it is suspended on a blue-crimson-blue ribbon. Knights and Dames Grand Cross wear it on a
riband or sash, passing from the right shoulder to the left hip. Knights Commanders and male Companions wear
the badge from a ribbon around the neck; Dames Commanders and female Companions wear it from
a bow on the left shoulder. The badge is a seven-armed, white-enamelled
‘Maltese Asterisk’ (see Maltese Cross); the obverse shows St Michael trampling on Satan,
while the reverse shows St George on horseback killing a dragon, both within a dark blue
ring bearing the motto of the Order.On certain “collar days” designated by the Sovereign,
members attending formal events may wear the Order’s collar over their military uniform
or morning wear. When collars are worn (either on collar days
or on formal occasions such as coronations), the badge is suspended from the collar. All collars which have been awarded since
1948 must be returned to the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood. The other insignia may be retained.==Chapel==The original home of the Order was the Palace
of St. Michael and St. George in Corfu, the residence of the Lord High Commissioner of
the Ionian Islands and the seat of the Ionian Senate. Since 1906, the Order’s chapel has been in
St Paul’s Cathedral in London. (The Cathedral also serves as home to the
chapels of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and the Imperial Society of
Knights Bachelor.) Religious services for the whole Order are
held quadrennially; new Knights and Dames Grand Cross are installed at these services. The Sovereign and the Knights and Dames Grand
Cross are allotted stalls in the choir of the chapel, above which their heraldic devices
are displayed. Perched on the pinnacle of a knight’s stall
is his helm, decorated with a mantling and topped by his crest. Under English heraldic law, women other than
monarchs do not bear helms or crests; instead, the coronet appropriate to the dame’s rank,
if there is one, is used. Above the crest or coronet, the stall’s occupant’s
heraldic banner is hung, emblazoned with his or her coat of arms. At a considerably smaller scale, to the back
of the stall is affixed a piece of brass (a “stall plate”) displaying its occupant’s name,
arms and date of admission into the Order. Upon the death of a Knight, the banner, helm,
mantling and crest are taken down. The stall plates, however, are not removed;
rather, they remain permanently affixed somewhere about the stall, so that the stalls of the
chapel are festooned with a colourful record of the Order’s Knights and Dames Grand Cross
since 1906. The reredos within the chapel were commissioned
from Henry Poole in 1927.==Precedence and privileges==Members of the Order of St Michael are assigned
positions in the order of precedence in England and Wales. Wives of male members also feature on the
order of precedence, as do sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of Knights Grand Cross
and Knights Commanders; relatives of female members, however, are not assigned any special
precedence. (As a general rule, individuals can derive
precedence from their fathers or husbands, but not from their mothers or wives.) Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commanders
prefix “Sir”, and Dames Grand Cross and Dames Commanders prefix “Dame”, to their forenames. Wives of Knights may prefix “Lady” to their
surnames, but no equivalent privilege exists for husbands of Dames. Such forms are not used by peers and princes,
except when the names of the former are written out in their fullest forms. Furthermore, honorary (foreign) members and
clergymen do not receive the accolade and thus are not entitled to use the prefix “Sir”
or “Dame”. Knights and Dames Grand Cross use the post-nominal
“GCMG”; Knights Commanders and Dames Commanders use “KCMG” and “DCMG” respectively; Companions
use “CMG”. Knights and Dames Grand Cross are also entitled
to receive heraldic supporters. They may, furthermore, encircle their arms
with a depiction of the circlet (a circle bearing the motto) and the collar; the former
is shown either outside or on top of the latter. Knights and Dames Commanders and Companions
may display the circlet, but not the collar, surrounding their arms. The badge is depicted suspended from the collar
or circlet.==Popular references==In the satirical British television programme
Yes Minister, Jim Hacker MP is told an old joke by his Private Secretary Bernard Woolley
about what the various post-nominals stand for. From Season 2, Episode 2 “Doing the Honours”: Woolley: In the [civil] service, CMG stands
for “Call Me God”. And KCMG for “Kindly Call Me God”.Hacker:
What does GCMG stand for?Woolley (deadpan): “God Calls Me God”. Ian Fleming’s spy, James Bond, a commander
in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) was fictionally decorated with the CMG in
1953. (This is mentioned in the novels From Russia,
with Love and On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and on-screen in his obituary in Skyfall.) He was offered the KCMG (which would have
elevated him from a Companion in the Order to a Knight Commander in the Order) in The
Man with the Golden Gun, but he rejected that offer as he did not wish to become a public
figure. Dame Judi Dench’s character “M” is “offered”
early retirement and a GCMG in Skyfall after a series of unfortunate events resulting in
the loss of a list that named every NATO espionage operative. Long-time Doctor Who companion Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart
wore the ribbon of the order as the highest of his decorations in the series’ classic
era.==Current Knights and Dames Grand Cross==(NOTE: For clarity, the table denotes holders
of the GCMG only; all other posts-nominal shown, for respective members, are for the
sake of completeness alone.) Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II
Grand Master: His Royal Highness The Duke of Kent (1967)===Knights and Dames Grand Cross======
Officers===Prelate: The Rt Revd David Urquhart (Lord
Bishop of Birmingham) Chancellor: The Lord Robertson of Port Ellen
Secretary: Sir Simon McDonald , Permanent Under-Secretary of State, Foreign and Commonwealth
Office Registrar: Sir David Manning
King of Arms: Sir Jeremy Greenstock Gentleman Usher of the Blue Rod: Dame DeAnne
Julius===
Honorary Knights/Dame Grand Cross (GCMG)======Honorary Knights/Dames Commander (KCMG/DCMG)
=====See also==
List of people who have declined a British honour
Order of the Bath Order of the British Empire
Order of the Garter Order of the Thistle
Royal Victorian Order Russian Order of St George

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