Orders of Chivalry and Gallantry Awards
Reception into one of the chivalric orders takes place at the chapel of the order to which the postulant is being admitted. Some, but not all, include a time of contemplation beforehand, with investiture into the two senior domestic orders (The Order of the Garter, The Order of Merit) involving the same complex historical traditions of fast, prayer and vigil as investiture into the hereditary knighthood, although specific arrangements are made should the candidate profess to follow a non-Christian faith. During the investiture ceremonies themselves, those who are being admitted to the knighthood in any Order will kneel before the King and be dubbed on the shoulders with the Sword of State. For the lower classes of the Order of Sable (Commander, Officer, Member), the award will be formally presented by the King and acknowledged with a shake of the hand. In all cases, recipients are expected to make an Oath of Allegiance to the Crown.
Orders of Chivalry
In order of precedence, Sable’s chivalric orders are as follows:
The Order of the Garter
The Order of the Garter is the most senior order within Sable, and consists of the King, certain members of the Royal Family, and twenty-four knights (KG or DG). The patron saint of the order is St George and its spiritual home is St George’s Chapel on the King’s Isle. Every knight is required to display a banner of his or her arms in the Chapel, together with a helmet, crest and sword and an enamelled stall-plate. When they die, the arms and insignia are returned to the King, but the stall-plate remains as a memorial to former knights. Knights of the Garter are chosen personally by the Sovereign to honour those who have held public office, who have contributed in a particular way to national life, or who have served the Sovereign personally. If there are vacancies in the order, appointments are announced on 21 March, and the members of the order meet annually on St George’s Day (23 April).
The Order of St George
The Order of St George (OSG) is a newly-instigated order, although the College of Heralds has placed it second to the Garter in seniority. It is a purely external order, awarded to Heads of State of countries outside Sable, and is in the gift of the Sovereign. Its membership is restricted to King Robert, as Master of the Order; the Sovereigns of Argent and Azure; and no more than thirty-six other knights. As with the Order of the Garter, the patron saint is St George and the order’s spiritual home is St George’s Chapel on the King’s Isle. However, there is no requirement to display banners or arms in the Chapel, as that is the sole right of the Garter Knights. Being an external order, there is no period of preparation before the investiture, and the Oath sworn is to remain as a friend and ally of the Kingdom of Sable, rather than a direct Oath of Allegiance to the King of Sable, as it would not be expected for the Head of State of another nation to swear allegiance to a country not their own. If there are vacancies in the order which His Majesty wishes to fill, appointments are announced on 1 January, and the members meet annually on 1 February
The Order of Merit
The Order of Merit (OM) is a very special distinction given to people who have rendered exceptionally meritorious service. It was initially instituted for service in the Armed Forces, but about seventy years ago, membership was extended to those who have worked towards the advancement of the Arts, Learning, Literature, and Science, or have given some other exceptional service. The Order of Merit is in the sole gift of the Sovereign, and is restricted to 100 members. The order’s spiritual home is the Guard’s Chapel, reflecting the fact that it was originally a military order. If there are vacancies in the order, appointments are announced on 21 September, and the order meets annually on 21 October.
The Order of St Gabriel/The Order of St Michael
These two orders are of equivalent rank, and are awarded by the Sovereign (although this can be on recommendation from the Government or the Sable Staff Council) for meritorious service.
The Order of St Gabriel is a predominantly civilian order, and has been in existence for many years. It consists of the Sovereign, the Grand Master, and three classes of members: 50 Knights and Dames Grand Cross (GCG); 100 Knights and Dames Commander (KCG and DCG); and 350 Companions (CG). The Grand Master is currently Francesco, Comte de Saint-Germain, Principal of Sable Mage College. The order meets once a year, on 24 March, at its spiritual home of St Gabriel’s Church, near SMC and the University of Sable. New candidates for membership are expected to spend the morning of the order day in contemplation in the cathedral, with the investiture service in the afternoon.
The Order of St Michael is a predominantly military order, which was founded when the decision was made to open the Order of Merit to civilians. It is organised similarly to the Order of St Gabriel, with three classes of membership: GCM, KCM and DCM, and CM. Its current Grand Master is Field Marshal Lord William O’Connor. The order’s spiritual home is in the Chapel of the Order at St Michael’s Cathedral in Sable City, where it meets every year on 29 September. New candidates for membership are expected to spend the morning of the order day in contemplation in the cathedral, with the investiture service in the afternoon.
The Royal Sovereign Order
The Royal Sovereign Order (KRSO or DRSO) is given by King Robert to individuals who have served him or the Monarchy in a personal way. These may include officials of the Royal Household, family members, trusted agents and ambassadors. It is entirely within the Sovereign’s gift, although there is no restriction on the number of members. The anniversary of the institution of the order is 17 June, the King’s birthday, and new candidates for membership are expected to spend the morning of the order day in contemplation in the cathedral, with the investiture service in the afternoon.
The Order of the Kingdom of Sable
This is the most commonly awarded honour, and both Sable and Commonwealth citizens are eligible, should they perform some suitable service to Crown, military or community: for example, exemplary war service, or to acknowledge distinguished service to the arts and sciences, public services and work with charitable and welfare organisations of all kinds. It is split into Military and Civil Divisions. There is a specific Order Chapel in the crypt of St Michael’s Cathedral. The order has five classes, of which only the two highest entail admission into knighthood (as non-hereditary peers):
- Knight or Dame Grand Cross (GCKS)
- Knight or Dame Commander (KKS or DKS)
- Commander (CKS)
- Officer (OKS)
- Member (MKS)
There are two investitures a year: 21st February, and 21st August.
There are different sets of awards for gallantry for military and civilian service. However, in order of precedence and equivalence these are:
|Conspicuous Gallantry Cross
|Distinguished Service Cross
|The King’s Gallantry Medal
|Military Gallantry Medal
|Civilian Gallantry Medal
|The King’s Commendation for Bravery
The Mention-in-Despatches (MID) is a gallantry award for acts which were judged of sufficient merit to be officially mentioned in the despatches sent by the officer commanding a theatre of operation, back to the Sable Staff Council. There is also a military Distinguished Service Order (DSO), which can be awarded for ‘Leadership Qualities’ to all ranks. There is no specific award for being injured in the line of duty, although other awards can be made in this circumstance.
If a service person has won an award, and then goes on to perform another act of bravery they can be awarded the same medal again. For the second and any subsequent award, they receive a bar to wear across the ribbon of the first medal.
The Royal Cross, King’s Medal and King’s Gallantry Medal can be awarded to military personnel when the acts of gallantry fall outside the warrant for a military gallantry award, and likewise civilians can earn the military equivalents of these if they should find themselves within a formal combat zone.