Order of Louise, Type II, I Division Cross (1864)
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This Order was founded by King Friedrich Wilhelm II of Prussia to commemorate his deceased wife Queen Louise.
The Order was awarded to women, without consideration of rank, in recognition of meritorious services that benefited Prussia, especially within nursing and charity. The Order was automatically awarded to the princesses of the Prussian Royal Family.
The Order was renewed by each subsequent ruler of Prussia. It was renewed in 1814 by Friedrich Wilhelm III, in 1850 by Friedrich Wilhelm IV, in 1865 by Wilhelm I, and in 1890 by Wilhelm II.
With the renewal of the Order by King Friedrich Wilhelm IV in 1850, the reverse inscription of the Order cross changed to the years "1848 1849.”
With the renewal by King Wilhelm I in 1865, the Order was divided into two separate divisions, I Division and II Division, and he also added the possible reverse inscriptions "1864" and “1866.”
The I Division crosses were awarded to women that had rendered meritorious service during war, while the II Division crosses were awarded to women that had provided meritorious nursing services within epidemics, disasters, and accidents in times of peace.
The I Division crosses had gold lining and letters and the reverse inscription featured the year they were awarded, including “1864”, or “1866.”
The II Division crosses had silver lining and lettering, the reverse inscriptions "1864", “1865” or “1866,” and were awarded in two grades, I Class Cross and II Class Cross. The I Class Cross could be awarded with an additional surmounting, mobile crown for special merit, and had a blue enamelled medallion and black enamelled cross arms. The II Class Cross had a light blue enamelled medallion, and no enamel on the cross arms.
The Order was restricted to 100 members for all grades.
There were only two instances of the special Grand Cross and Grand Cross Breast Star grade being awarded. They were conferred upon the Grand Duchess Louise of Baden in 1897, and the Queen of Prussia Auguste Victoria in 1901.
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