Order of the Golden Lion of the House of Nassau, I Class Knight
Image courtesy of Robert Prummel, Wikipedia
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The Order of the Golden Lion of the House of Nassau was established by Wilhelm III, King of the Netherlands, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg, and Duke Adolph of Nassau. It was created to commemorate the 600th anniversary of both branches of the House of Nassau and the 50th anniversary of the Duchy of Nassau, as well as to provide the Duke with an award to bestow upon fellow royals.
It is conferred upon foreign heads of state, sovereigns, princes, and ambassadors in recognition of meritorious service to Luxembourg or the Netherlands. Both the Grand-Duke of Luxembourg and the King of the Netherlands hold the title of Grand Master, and both consult each other regarding conferral of the Order.
The statutes of the Order have changed a number of times since the end of the nineteenth century. From March 31, 1858, to March 28, 1873, the Order was awarded in a single grade, but on March 28, 1873, King-Grand Duke Wilhelm III created an additional three classes: II Class Knight, III Class Knight, and IV Class Knight. On April 7th, 1882, the Order was expanded again to include a III Class Knight (Commander), and the previous III and IV Class Knights were renamed the IV and V Knights, respectively. At this time, swords were also added to the I and II Class Knight Breast Stars when awarded to military Officers.
In 1892, Adolph annulled all changes that had been made to the Order since 1873 following his ascension to the Grand Ducal throne in 1890. From 1890-1905, the Order was conferred exclusively in Luxembourg, but in 1905, the Grand Duke of Luxembourg and Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands signed an agreement that re-established the Order as a joint award.
When the additional classes were added in 1873 and 1882, no sizes were outlined in official documents, despite size acting as the distinguishing factor between grades. The sizes listed in these entries are average measurements.
All decorations are required to be returned following the death of a member or following their promotion to a higher grade.
The I Class Knight features a reverse inscription that translates to "I Will Maintain."
See also the Order of the Golden Lion of the House of Nassau in the Orders of the Netherlands.
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