/stferdinand.htm" StFerdinand


Knight Grand Cross of the Sicilian Order of St Ferdinand and of Merit




This order was instituted by his Sicilian Majesty in 1800, with a view of conferring it only upon those who had performed some great and eminent service to the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies. By the statutes the number of the Knight Grand-Crosses is limited to twenty-four. Lord Viscount NELSON, and the Field Marshal SOUWOROW-RIMINISKY Prince ITALISKY, were the two foreigners who were elected by the Sovereign as the senior Knights Companions. The late Emperor of Russia, PAUL I, was the third; and his Sicilian Majesty, his two sons, all the Ministers of State, and the chief Nobles of the Court, to the amount of twenty-one, were selected to complete the stipulated number of those who were nominated as the original Knights Grand-Crosses, and Knights Commanders. The second class is not restricted to any fixed number: Captains Sir Thomas Troubridge, Sir Alexander J. Ball, Bart. And Sir Samuel Hood, Sir Thomas Louis, and Benjamin Hallowell, of the British navy, were honoured by his Sicilian Majesty with the badges of Knights Commanders, to testify his high sense of the services they had performed for the safeguard and protection of his family and his kingdom. As is invariably practised upon such occasions, Lord Viscount NELSON solicited and obtained his Sovereign’s gracious permission, by warrant under the sign manual, dated 7th of January, 1801, and registered in the College of Arms, to assume the title, and to wear the insignia as a Knight Grand Cross; and the other gentlemen received the like permission to wear the insignia of Knights Commanders.

The badge is of gold, in the form of a star of six rays, the whole issuing from a gold circle. In the middle of this circle is the image of St. Ferdinand, in his robes and crown; his right hand resting on a dawn sword, and holding in his left a crown of laurel. This effigy of a patron is encircled with the motto – Pro fide et Merito. This cross or badge is attached to a broad dark-blue ribbon, with a small red border, these being the French and Spanish colours of the house of Bourbon: it is worn scarf-wise over the right shoulder. The star is of silver, and is worn on the left breast, and corresponds in all respects with the cross above mentioned. The Commanders wear the medal of the Order suspended from the neck by a narrow ribbon, of the same colour as the large one: they are not entitled to wear the star on their upper apparel until they are advanced to the rank of Grand Cross.