Civil Merit Order of St. Louis, Grand Cross


SKU: 01.ITA.0106.101.01.000

  • Civil Merit Order of St. Louis, Grand Cross Obverse
  • Civil Merit Order of St. Louis, Grand Cross Reverse

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  • Image Licensing
    The image of the Grand Cross is attributed to Robert Prummel and Wikipedia at through the release of the work into the public domain by the source via the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.

Physical Description and Item Details

The insignia is a cross, composed of four fleur-de-lis, bound together by their leaves. On the centre of the obverse in a blue-enamelled shield are three gold lilies. On the reverse is a figure of St. Louis, surrounded by the motto DEUS ET DIES (God and Light).


The Civil Merit Order of St. Louis was initially founded in the Duchy of Lucca in 1836 by Charles Louise (Charles II). His son, Charles III Duke of Parma, revived the Order at Parma, on August 11, 1849, as an award of merit.

The Parma branch of the Order was expanded to reward extraordinary merit within civil services and have five grades.

Membership to the Order was primarily restricted to noble Catholics but was open to Protestants in cases of extreme merit.

When a non-noble became the recipient of the Grand Cross or Commander grades they were bestowed with hereditary nobility. If they were the recipient of the I Class or II Class Knight grade, they were only granted with personal nobility that was withdrawn following their death.

The Grand Master of the Order, who was always the Duke of Parma, was the only member of the Order who was permitted to add brilliants to their awards.

The maximum membership numbers for each grade excluded reigning princes and foreigners.

The Grand Cross and Grand Cross Breast Star were restricted to a maximum of 20 members.

The Grand Cross is also known as the I Class.

See the Civil Merit Order of St. Louis, in the Orders of the Duchy of Lucca for more information.


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