Royal Victorian Chain
|Royal Victorian Chain|
|King George V in 1923, wearing his Royal Victorian Chain|
|Awarded by the monarch of the United Kingdom on foundation, the monarch of the United Kingdom and British Dominions from 1931 to 1952, and the monarch of the Commonwealth realms since 1952|
|Eligibility||Men and women, of any nation|
|Awarded for||At the monarch's pleasure|
|Total inductees||84citation needed|
|Ribbon of the Royal Victorian Chain|
The Royal Victorian Chain is an award instituted in 1902 by King Edward VII as a personal award of the monarch (i.e. not an award made on the advice of any Commonwealth realm government). Although it is similarly named, the chain is not related to the Royal Victorian Order.
The chain is in gold, decorated with motifs of Tudor rose, thistle, shamrock, and lotus flower (symbolizing England, Scotland, Ireland, and India, respectively) and a crowned, red enamelled cypher of King Edward VII—ERI (Edwardus Rex Imperator)—surrounded by a gold wreath for men, upon which the badge is suspended. The chain is worn around the collar by men or with the four motifs and some chain links fixed to a riband in the form of bow (blue with red-white-red edges) on the left shoulder by women. However, the Queen's sister, the late Princess Margaret, Countess of Snowdon, in later life chose to wear her chain around the collar, as male recipients do.
The badge is a gold, white enamelled Maltese Cross; the oval-shaped central medallion depicts Victoria's royal and imperial cypher—VRI (Victoria Regina Imperatrix)—on a red background, surrounded by a crown-surmounted blue ring bearing the word Victoria. Both the crown and Queen Victoria's cypher are studded with diamonds.
The Royal Victorian Chain does not confer upon its recipients any style or title, nor does it give a precedence within any Commonwealth honours system. However, it represents a personal token of high distinction and esteem from the monarch. The chain can be conferred upon men and women, both of the realms and foreign. There are at least 14 recipients living, of whom only four were not heads of state at the time of award.
It has normally served as the senior award for Canadians, who are generally ineligible to receive knighthoods under federal Cabinet policy. Only two Canadians have thus far received the chain: Vincent Massey and Roland Michener, both former governors general.1
The Royal Victorian Chain must be returned to the monarch upon the death of the recipient.
- From the Commonwealth realms
- The Earl of Airlie (former Lord Chamberlain of the Royal Household), awarded 1997
- The Lord Carey of Clifton (former Archbishop of Canterbury), awarded 2002
- Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, awarded 2007
- The Lord Williams of Oystermouth (former Archbishop of Canterbury), awarded 2012
- From other countries
- King Bhumibol Adulyadej, awarded 1960
- Queen Margrethe II, awarded 1974
- King Carl XVI Gustaf, awarded 1975
- Princess Beatrix, awarded 1982
- António Ramalho Eanes (former President of Portugal), awarded 1985
- King Juan Carlos I, awarded 1986
- Richard von Weizsäcker (former President of Germany), awarded 1992
- King Harald V, awarded 1994
- King Abdullah, awarded 2007
- Sultan bin Said al Said, awarded 2010