Leopold Order, Type I, Silver Merit Cross
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A George’s cross with curved and rounded arms, constructed of silver. The cross is pebbled with a smooth and raised border. The centre medallion features the crowned monogram ‘L’. The reverse is similar, except that the medallion features the inscription ‘FÜR VERDIENST’ (‘for merit’) with a decorative line underneath. On a loop for suspension, on a white ribbon with red borders.
The Leopold Order was founded by Prince Leopold IV in 1906, and was conferred upon individuals, regardless of rank or nationality, who rendered meritorious service to the sovereign and state. Originally, the order featured a single class, which could be conferred with or without a crown.
In 1908, the I Class Cross with Crown was modified to feature a stick pin fastening device. At this point, the order was extended to feature a Silver and Bronze Merit Medal.
In 1910, the order was extended to include a Grand Honour Cross, a Silver Collar, and a Gold Merit Medal. The Grand Honour Cross was conferred upon the princes of the House of Lippe, as well as members of other ruling houses.
The Grand Honour Cross served as I Class, the Cross with Crown as II Class, and the Cross without Crown as III Class.
In 1916, the order’s purpose was extended so that the decorations could serve as a reminder of the ascension of the Lippe-Biesterfeld line to the head of the House of Lippe.
The order became obsolete in 1918.
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