Order of Leopold, Type I, Civil Division, Grand Cross Breast Star (with diamonds)
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This Order was instituted by Emperor Franz I of Austria in commemoration of his Father, Emperor Leopold II, and it was conferred upon Austrians and foreign citizens in recognition of civil and military merit.
The Order originally consisted of three grades, Grand Cross with Grand Cross Breast Star, Commander, and Knight.
On February 23, 1860 a War Decoration was added to all Order awards conferred for military merit. On the cross grades the War Decoration is a gold half laurel wreath worn below the surmounting crown. On the Breast Star grades the War Decoration is a gold-coloured laurel wreath behind the Breast Star rays.
From July 18, 1884 onward recipients of the Order were granted nobility, if they were not already a member of the aristocracy.
In 1917 crossed swords were added as a possible Order attribute. The crossed swords were awarded for bravery in the face of the enemy and pass through the centre of the cross. When the crossed swords were awarded on a Knight grade they are worn on the ribbon.
The Order laws were amended on February 1, 1901, resulting in the addition of the I Class with I Class Breast Star.
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