Order of Civil Merit, Grand Cross
Image courtesy of “Abbildungen zur chronic sämtlicher Ritter Orden und Ehrenzeichen Souveraine and Regerungen, Seiner Majestat dem Konige Von Presussen Freiderich Wilhelm IV gewidmet von H. Schulze, Lieutenant in der Landwehr Artillerie”, published in 1835 in Berlin
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The Order of Civil Merit was established by King Friedrich I to recognise court officials and civil servants who rendered outstanding service but were ineligible to receive the Order of the Golden Eagle due to their social status. The Order had three classes and a limited number of members, although the King has the right to increase the number. At one time, there could only be 6 Grand Cross members, 6 Commander Cross members, and 36 Knight Cross members.
On December 1, 1806, all recipients were made members of the aristocracy. Recipients were required to incorporate the Order of Civil Merit into their Coat-of-Arms.
If a civil servant or court official had rendered at least 24 years of loyal service and had the support of his superior, the individual could submit a request to receive the Order to a chapter of the Order. The request would be considered by a Committee of the Order’s Chancellors and the result would be submitted to the King.
Recipients were required to wear their awards at all times and if they failed to do so, they had to donate 20 Reichsthaler to the poor. If a recipient consistently failed to wear the award, their membership was revoked.
This Order was merged with the Order of the Golden Eagle on September 23, 1818, to create the Order of the Württemberg Crown.
The Grand Cross is identical to the Commander Cross, except it was worn on a sash instead of a neck ribbon.
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