The UK includes England (Capital: London), Northern Ireland (Capital: Belfast), Scotland (Capital: Edinburgh), and Wales (Capital: Cardiff). Commonly referred to as Britain, it is the 78th largest country in the world, comprising 242,500 square kilometers with a population of just over 66 million inhabitants. As the world’s first industrialized country and foremost power in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries, it was at one point, the largest empire in history, controlling nearly ¼ of the world’s land mass. The UK has been heavily involved is relatively all global conflicts, most recently the First and Second World Wars. Although these conflicts diminished the UK’s role slightly, it remains an economic and military power with strong political and cultural influences worldwide.
The British Honours System has adapted and evolved over time, reflecting economic, political, social, and cultural forces which have shaped the United Kingdom’s history. Modern awards of the United Kingdom may be appointed upon individuals of any social rank, regardless of gender, religion, class, or political orientation. The Order of the Garter, first instituted in 1348, set the precedent for all other British orders, exhibiting a mix of medieval (such as membership regulations) and modern characteristics which have become integrated into the United Kingdom’s complex honours system. By the 19th century, awards of the United Kingdom gradually begun to be presented for individual acts of valour rather than as tokens of hereditary knighthood, and a rigid set of standards began to emerge.
The sovereign is the “fount of honour” providing exclusive rights to confer titles of nobility and orders of chivalry. The current sovereign is Queen Elizabeth II. In MedalBook, the UK is organized by Orders, Medals and Decorations, Badges, and Insignia, by order of precedence.
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Orders, Decorations and Medals: Britain. Last updated January 1, 2010. https://web.archive.org/web/20140617083152/http://www.jeanpaulleblanc.com/Britain.htm
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“Summary of the Conditions of Award of the Campaign Stars, the Defence Medals and the War Medal.” Commonwealth of Australia. Published in December 1948. http://www.defence.gov.au/Medals/_Master/docs/Imperial/WWII/WWII-Summary-of-Conditions.pdf
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