Royal Order of Saint Ferdinand and of Merit, Commander
Image courtesy of Andreas Thies
Image courtesy of Pages 519 of "Handbuch der Ritter und Verdienstorden" by Maximilian Gritzner.
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The decoration is formed by a golden round medallion bearing the image of St. Ferdinand, edged by a blue-enameled border inscribed “FIDEI ET MERITO”, surrounded by six golden rays alternating six white enameled lilies. The Royal Crown tops it. On the reverse, there is the inscription “FERD. IV. INST: ANNO 1800″ on the central medallion.
The Order was founded by Ferdinand IV, King of Naples, to commemorate the defeat of the French, and the return of Ferdinand IV to his Kingdom.
This Order was awarded to men who had proven their fealty by staying loyal to the King. It was also awarded in recognition of extraordinary services that demonstrated an individual’s loyalty to the King and the Royal family.
The Order was originally awarded in two grades, the Grand Cross with Grand Cross Breast Star, and the Commander. The grades of Knight, Gold Medal of Honour, and Silver Medal of Honour were added to the Order in 1810.
The Order was discontinued following the unification of Italy in 1860.
It is recorded that the Order was granted as a dynastic Order until 1912.
The obverse inscription roughly translates to "Fidelity and Merit."
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