Order of the Honey-Bee, Gold Medal (stamped "H.R.F")
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The Order of the Honey-Bee was created on June 11, 1703 by Anne-Louise-Bénédicte de Bourbon, Duchess of Maine, in Sceaux. It is a fantasy Order that was created to insult Louis XIV for forcing her to marry Louis Auguste de Bourbon.
There were 39 members of the Order. Members could be male or female. All members were expected to wear the medal of the Order while present at Sceaux, and to be present at all parties held by the Duchess in her court. The articles of the Order can be read in chapter 25 of Alexandre Dumas’ Le Chevalier d'Harmental.
The obverse had an image of the Duchess of Maine and the reverse had an image of a bee. The obverse inscription reads “L.BAR.D.SC.D.P.D.L.O.D.LM.A.M. H.R.F.” (Louise, baronne de Sceaux, directrice perpétuelle de l’Ordre de la Mouche à Miel. Henri Roussel fecit, "Louise, Baroness of Sceaux, Perpetual Director of the Order of the Bee, Henri Roussel made this"). The reverse inscription reads “PICCOLA SI. MA FA PUR GRAVI LE FERITE 1703” which translates to "She is small, it is true, but she inflicts great wounds."
The Order of the Honey-Bee is translated from the French "Ordre de la Mouche à miel".
The original medals were struck in gold, but there are other later restrikes that exist in silver and bronze.
The Duchess died in 1753 and the Order was never continued.
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