Royal Order of Noble Dames of Queen Maria Louisa, Cross
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The Royal Order of Noble Dames of Queen Maria Louisa (Real Orden de Damas Nobles de la Reina Maria Luisa) was founded by Carlos IV/Charles IV King of Spain on April 21, 1792. It was established at behest of his wife Queen Maria Louisa of Parma, who required a reward to recognize the services and talents of the Noble Ladies of the Spanish Court.
Initially, the Order was restricted to Noble Ladies who displayed extraordinary talents and distinguished services in the Spanish court; those recipients were personally chosen by the Queen. However, in 1815 the Order became an order that recognized Spanish women for meritorious civil service to Spain.
After Bourbon Restoration, the Order returned to the control of the Monarchy, but it remained awarding Spanish women not necessarily relating with the Spanish nobility.
Currently, the Order is awarded to women who displayed philanthropy and meritorious actions that encourage Spanish culture and the international understanding of Spain.
The Grand Master of the Order is the King of Spain and the Chief is the Queen, although the main office stands in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The noble origin is not longer a requirement, and the awards are restricted to a 30 recipients in total.
The Order has a unique grade, Dame.
The design of the Order has not changed significantly since its foundation, and it has to be returned once the recipient passed away.
The Order has not been awarded recently years.
There are rare examples of the Cross with additional features as brilliants, or gems.
The Cross may be worn on a sash, or on a bow ribbon for less official wear.
The Cross features a reverse inscription that translates to "Royal Order of the Queen Maria Luisa."
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