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The Grand Ducal House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz
Das Großherzogliche Haus Mecklenburg-Strelitz


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House Order of the Wendish Crown



The Grand Ducal House Order of the Wendish Crown is the most senior order of the House of Mecklenburg. The order was jointly instituted on 12 May 1864 by Grand Duke Friedrich Wilhelm of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Grand Duke Friedrich Franz II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. That same day Grand Duke Friedrich Franz II was married to Princess Anne of Hesse and by Rhine, his second wife, wearing for the first time the chain and badge of the House Order of the Wendish Crown. As it was jointly instituted the position of head of order was held jointly by the reigning grand duke’s of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Mecklenburg-Schwerin. The order was instituted to show honour and respect for the special and extraordinary merit of persons who show true honesty in attitude and life.


As the Wendish Crown is a house order and as such attached to the grand ducal house rather than the state, successive heads of the House’s of Mecklenburg-Strelitz and Mecklenburg-Schwerin retained their position as head of the order with the right to award it. However since the end of the monarchy this right has rarely been exercised and order has effectively lain dormant. No member of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz currently holds the order; however the House of Mecklenburg-Schwerin still has some living members such as Duchess Donata who holds the Grand Cross with the Crown in Ore, with the insignia in Diamonds. With the extinction of the House of Mecklenburg-Schwerin in 2001 the head of the House of Mecklenburg-Strelitz is the sole head of the order.


Females are eligible to receive the first two classes of the order; males are eligible to receive any class. Under the original statue there were limits on the number of awards that could be given and who was eligible to receive certain classes.


Classes


The House Order of the Wendish Crown comes in four classes:


1a) Grand Cross with the Crown in Ore - could be awarded to male and female members of the grand ducal house, and members of other royal houses.

1b) Grand Cross with the Crown in Gold - could be awarded to persons who held the rank of “Excellency”, although an exception was once made to this rule.

2) Grand Commander - could be awarded to persons who held the rank of at least General Major.-

3) Commander

4) Knight


In addition to the above classes there was also:


The Cross of Merit which was available in a) gold and b) silver, and which could be given as a special honorary decoration.


The insignia of the order


Badge


The badge of the order is a white eight pointed Maltese cross with each of the four angles possessing a golden griffin. The Grand Cross badge came with gold balls on the points of the four angles. The roundel of the badge has a blue centre upon which lays a gold Wendish Crown and a red outer layer which has the orders motto inscribed upon it. Depending upon the awarding sovereign the motto will differ. For the Mecklenburg-Strelitz award the motto is Avito Viret Honore while for Mecklenburg-Schwerin it’s Per aspera ad astra. On the back of the badge is the monogram of the founder with “FW” for Mecklenburg-Strelitz and “FF” for Mecklenburg-Schwerin written in gold on a blue enameled roundel. Surmounted on the badge is a gold enclosed crown. The Grand Cross badge is surmounted with the founders monogram as well as the crown. The Cross of Merit badge differs from the other classes’ badges in that it is completely gold or silver including the roundel and monogram on the back.


Holders of the class Grand Cross wear the badge hanging at the bottom of a 4 inch wide blue sash which passes from the right shoulder to the left hip. The bottom of the blue sash where the badge is located has inner yellow and outer red side stripes. Those with the Crown in Ore wear the badge on the chain if they have been awarded it. Holders of the class Grand Commander and Commander wear the badge on a 3 inch wide ribbon around the neck. Knights wear the badge on the left chest on a ribbon that is slightly narrower than that of the Grand Commander and Commander’s.


Female royals who receive the class Grand Cross with the Crown in Ore have the crown and motto on their badge made of diamonds. They wear their badge on a bow on their left shoulder, unless they have received the chain. Women can also receive the classes Grand Cross with the Crown in Gold and Grand Commander in diamonds. Only women with the Grand Cross with the Crown in Gold receive the bow. Although eligible in Mecklenburg-Strelitz no female member of the house was given the order; the Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Schwerin did however award female members of his own house the order.


Ribbon


The ribbon for the order is blue with inner yellow and outer red side stripes which are the three national colours of Mecklenburg. Holders of the cross of merit receive a red ribbon with blue inner and yellow outer stripes.


Star


In addition to the badge those awarded the Grand Cross and Grand Commander also receive a star that is worn on the left chest. The holder of the class Grand Cross has an eight pointed silver star while the Grand Commander’s have a four pointed silver star. Both have a central roundel like the one found on the badge.


Chain


A chain could be awarded to those who hold the class Grand Cross with the Crown in Ore. It consists of four Wendish Crown’s, four monograms of the respective founder’s initials and a total of eight griffins, one either side of the Wendish Crown’s which the griffins are holding. Those who were awarded the chain would wear their badge at the front of the chain.


In Mecklenburg-Strelitz it was the practice for only the Grand Duke to have the chain of the order. In Mecklenburg-Schwerin the chain was given out to all males of the grand ducal house.


Heads of the order


Mecklenburg-Strelitz


1864-1904: Grand Duke Friedrich Wilhelm

1904-1914: Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich V

1914-1918: Grand Duke Adolf Friedrich VI

1918-1934: Duke Carl Michael

1934-1963: Duke Georg

1963-1996: Duke Georg Alexander

1996-present : Duke Borwin




Mecklenburg-Schwerin


1864-1883: Grand Duke Friedrich Franz II

1883-1897: Grand Duke Friedrich Franz III

1897-1945: Grand Duke Friedrich Franz IV

1945-2001: Hereditary Grand Duke Friedrich Franz


Notable recipients of the Mecklenburg-Strelitz award


  • HIM Sultan Abdul Aziz of the Ottoman Empire
  • HM King Christian IX of Denmark
  • HM King Frederik VIII of Denmark
  • HM King Georg V of Hanover






  • HM King Edward VII of the United Kingdom
  • HM King George V of the United Kingdom
  • HM King Georgios I of the Hellenes
  • HIM Emperor Aleksandr III of Russia


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