Leopold Order, Type II, III Class Cross
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A Maltese cross, constructed of silver and enamels. The cross is enamelled in purple with a broad silver border, and each cross arm tip features a silver ball finial. In between each cross arm pair is a silver monogram ‘L’. The centre of the cross features a medallion in white enamel with a red enamelled rose with golden centre and leaves. The medallion ring features the inscription ‘FÜR VERDIENST’ (‘for merit’) with two decorative lines and a small six-sided star in between at the bottom. The medallion ring is smooth and raised, and in silver. The reverse is smooth and in silver with a vertical pinback.
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.
Type II features enamelled cross arms and an obverse inscription around the centre medallion.
Unlike the II Class Cross, the III Class Cross does not feature a surmounting crown.
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