Royal Order of Francis I

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Royal Order of Francis I
Ster van de Orde van Frans I Beide Sicilien 1829.jpg
Breast Star of the Order
Awarded by the House of Bourbon-Two Sicilies
Type Previously a State Order,
Currently a Dynastic Order
Established 28 September 1829
Motto MERITO DE REGE OPTIME
Awarded for Civil and military merit and services to industry, agriculture, and the arts to the former Kingdom of the Two Sicilies
Precedence
Next (higher) Order of Saint George and Reunion
Reale ordine di francesco I.png
Ribbon of the Order

The Royal Order of Francis I (properly 'The Royal Order of Francis I of the Two Sicilies' Italian: Reale Ordine di Francesco I) was an order of merit of the former kingdom of the Two Sicilies. It has been revived by Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro as an award for services to charity and inter-religious understanding and includes a number of non Roman Catholic statesmen and stateswomen among its membership.

History[edit]

The Two Sicilies merit orders are considered by the Italian republic to have been abolished; the Order of Francis I as an award of merit was very different from the Order of Saint Januarius, the equivalent in the Two Sicilies of the Order of the Golden Fleece in Spain and the Order of the Holy Spirit in France. The argument made to justify its modern revival on the grounds that as a crown Order it was therefore a dynastic award is not accepted by most historians, by the Italian Republic which has legislated to define "non-national" Orders that may be authorised, nor by Prince Pedro, Duke of Calabria who considers it to be extinct and its awards null and void.

The Royal Order of Francis I was founded on 28 September 1829 an award of civil merit in the former Kingdom of the Two Sicilies for distinction in public service, science, the arts, agriculture, industry and commerce.

Although the order was a state order and the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies ceased to exist in 1860, the Order continued to be awarded by the exiled King Francis II and his brother and successor Prince Alfonso, Count of Caserta, although the latter did so for the last time in 1920, since they were still claiming all the prerogatives of the crown. His successor as head of the Dynasty, Prince Ferdinand Pius, Duke of Calabria who was head of the family from 1934-1960 accepted the de facto existence of the Italian State and abandoned an active pretension to the throne, considering the order to be abeyance. The latter's nephew, Infante Alfonso, Duke of Calabria, and great-nephew Infante Carlos, Duke of Calabria continued this policy, as has the latter's son and heir.

Prince Carlo, Duke of Castro, much like his father, Prince Ferdinand, Duke of Castro, head of the line of the family descended from Prince Ranieri, Duke of Castro has claimed the title and right of Grand Master and bestowed the order.

Recent recipients[edit]

Knight or Dame Grand Cross

Knight or Dame Commander

  • Lord Alderdice of Knock, former Speaker of the Northern Ireland Assembly, Knight Commander,
  • John Burland, Emeritus Professor of Soil Mechanics, Imperial College, London, Knight Commander,
  • Sir Desmond Lorenz de Silva, former United Nations Chief Prosecutor, Knight Commander,
  • Sir David Durie, formerly Governor and Commander-in-Chief of Gibraltar, Knight Commander,
  • Professor Nasser David Khalili, Knight Commander,
  • Lord Lamont of Lerwick, Knight Commander,
  • Sir Michael Smurfit, Knight Commander,
  • Giovanni Salemi, Knight Commander,
  • Lord Brennan of Bibury, Knight Commander, Delegate Emeritus for Great Britain and Ireland of the Constantinian Order,
  • Matthew D Dupee, Esq., Knight, US delegation
  • Count Alessandro Travaglini, Hon. Patrician of Ferrara, Patrician and Noble of Spoleto, Vice Delegate for the Most Serene Republic of Saint Marin and of Marche-Umbria Delegations of the Constantinian Order, Knight Commander, Knight Commander of Grace of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George.

Grades[edit]

The Order is now divided into three grades (the modern revival has allowed the award to women):

  • Knight Grand Cross with sash ribbon and star
  • Dame Grand Cross, with ribbon with bow edged in gold and covered with fleurs-de-lis
  • Knight Commander, with cross on neck ribbon
  • Dame Commander with ribbon with bow edged in gold and cross;
  • Knight First Class, with ribbon and cross;
  • Dame First Class with ribbon with bow and cross.
Divisa.Ord.FrancescoI.png
Reale ordine di francesco I.png
Knight
Reale ordine di francesco I.png
Commander
Reale ordine di francesco I.png
Knight Grand Cross

External links[edit]

See also[edit]