Order of the Swan, Collar (1440)
Image courtesy of Orders of Knighthood and Decoration of Honour of All Nations, Bernard Burke
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In 1440, Elector Frederick II of Brandenburg founded the Order as a religious association made up of princes and noble men and women.
The Order originally included thirty men and seven women, who united to honour the Virgin Mary.
Along with encouraging the worship of the Virgin, the association also sought to ease the suffering of the unfortunate through acts of charity.
The Order was abolished during the Protestant Reformation, but was later revived in 1843 by Frederick William IV of Prussia. The renewed association was open to all men and women, and sought to remedy physical and moral ills.
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