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Order of the british empire

The meaning of «order of the british empire»

The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire is a British order of chivalry, rewarding contributions to the arts and sciences, work with charitable and welfare organisations, and public service outside the civil service.[2] It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female.[3] There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of the order.

Recommendations for appointments to the Order of the British Empire were originally made on the nomination of the United Kingdom, the self-governing Dominions of the Empire (later Commonwealth) and the viceroy of India. Nominations continue today from Commonwealth countries that participate in recommending British (Imperial) honours. Most Commonwealth countries ceased recommendations for appointments to the Order of the British Empire when they created their own honours.[a]

The five classes of appointment to the Order are, in descending order of precedence:[4]

The senior two ranks of knight or dame grand cross, and knight or dame commander, entitle their members to use the title of Sir for men and Dame for women before their forename. Most members are citizens of the United Kingdom or the Commonwealth realms that use the Imperial system of honours and awards.

When the recipient is not a citizen of a country where Queen Elizabeth II is head of state, they receive an honorary knighthood. They may permit use of post-nominal letters but not the title of Sir or Dame. Occasionally, honorary appointees are incorrectly referred to as Sir or Dame. Honorary appointees who later become a citizen of a Commonwealth realm can convert their appointment from honorary to substantive to enjoy all privileges of membership of the order, including use of the title of Sir and Dame for the senior two ranks of the Order. An example is Irish broadcaster Terry Wogan, who was appointed an honorary knight commander of the Order in 2005, and upon successful application for British citizenship, held alongside his Irish citizenship, he was made a substantive member and subsequently styled as Sir Terry Wogan.[5][6]

King George V founded the Order to fill gaps in the British honours system:

In particular, King George V wished to create an Order to honour many thousands of those who had served in a variety of non-combatant roles during the First World War. When first established, the Order had only one division. However, in December 1918 it was formally divided into Military and Civil Divisions,[7] with the military division open to commissioned and Warrant Officers of the Armed Forces and nursing services.[8] The Order's motto is For God and the Empire.[2]

At the foundation of the Order, the Medal of the Order of the British Empire was instituted, to serve as a lower award granting recipients affiliation but not membership. In 1922, this was renamed the British Empire Medal (BEM). It ceased being awarded by the United Kingdom as part of the 1993 reforms of the honours system, but was again awarded from 2012, starting with 293 BEMs awarded for Queen Elizabeth II's Diamond Jubilee.[9] In addition, the BEM is awarded by the Cook Islands and by some other Commonwealth nations.

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