Order of the Most Holy Annunciation, Small Collar
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This Order is believed to have been founded by Amadeus VI of Savoy under the name Order of the Collar. Its original intent was to minimize antagonism between ruling families by fostering bonds of friendship as members of the same Order. The Order was meant to honour the Virgin Mary.
Initially, membership in the Order was restricted to 15 Knights, and it was awarded for extraordinary and meritorious services. Each domestic recipient was conferred the Large Collar and the Small Collar with a Breast Star, while foreign recipients were only awarded the Small Collar and the Breast Star. The Large Collar had to be returned to the State following the death of the recipient, but the Small Collar was allowed to remain with the recipient’s family.
The Order’s Statutes were amended by Charles III, Duke of Savoy, on September 11, 1518. He renamed it the Supreme Order of the Holy Annunciation, and expanded the number of possible Knights to 20.
It was revised again by King Emanuel II in 1869. He opened the Order to non-noble members who had rendered exceptionally meritorious service to the State and the Sovereign, and make it possible to make non-Catholics honourary members of the Order.
The Order was considered to be equal in rank with the Order of the Golden Fleece of Spain, the Order of St. Michael, and the Order of the Garter of England.
On March 3, 1951, it was discontinued as a State Order but continues to be awarded as an inherited Order of the House of Savoy.
The acronym "F E R T" was added to the design of the Order's collars in 1409.
The Small Collar is also known as the Lesser Collar.
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