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The title of Knight Bachelor is the basic rank granted to a man who has been knighted by the monarch but not inducted as a member of one of the organised orders of chivalry; it is a part of the British honours system.Knights Bachelor are the most ancient sort of British knight (the rank existed during the 13th-century reign of King Henry III), but Knights Bachelor rank below knights of chivalric orders.
There is no female counterpart to Knight Bachelor. The lowest knightly honour that can be conferred upon a woman is Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE), which is one rank higher than Knight Bachelor (being the female equivalent of KBE or Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, which is the next male knightly rank above Knight Bachelor). Also, foreigners are not created Knights Bachelor; instead they are generally made honorary KBEs.
Knighthood is usually conferred for public service; amongst its recipients are all male judges of Her Majesty's High Court of Justice in England. It is possible to be a Knight Bachelor and a junior member of an order of chivalry without being a knight of that order; this situation has become rather common, especially among those recognised for achievements in entertainment. For instance, Sir Ian Holm, Sir Michael Gambon, Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sir Elton John, Sir Peter Stearns, Sir Michael Caine, Sir Barry Gibb and Sir Ian McKellen are Commanders of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBEs); Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Tom Jones and Sir Van Morrison are Officers of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBEs) (as were Sir Bruce Forsyth, Sir Alan Bates, Sir Robert Helpmann, Sir Nigel Hawthorne, Sir John Mills, Sir John Hurt, Sir Christopher Lee, Sir Terry Pratchett, Sir Peter Ustinov, Sir Alec Guinness, Sir Richard Attenborough, Sir Michael Hordern and Sir Michael Redgrave during their lives); while Sir Paul McCartney and Sir Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr) are Members of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE). None of them would be entitled to use the honorific "Sir" by virtue of their membership of the order alone, but as they are all also Knights Bachelor, they are entitled to preface their names with that title.
Knights Bachelor may prefix "Sir" to their forenames and wives of Knights may prefix "Lady" to their surnames.Since recipients are not knights of an order of chivalry there are no post-nominal letters associated with the honour, however when the style "Sir" is awkward or incomplete due to a subsequent appointment, recipients may use the letters "Kt" after their name (note the lowercase "t" which distinguishes it from "KT"). This style is often adopted by Knights Bachelor who are also peers, baronets, or knights of the various chivalric orders. In legal and official documents "Knight" should be added after the name instead of "Kt".
Until 1926 Knights Bachelor had no insignia which they could wear, but in that year King George V issued a warrant authorising the wearing of a badge on all appropriate occasions by Knights Bachelor; this badge is worn on the left side of the coat or outer garment. Measuring 2 3⁄8 inches (60 mm) in length and 1 3⁄8 inches (35 mm) in width, it is described in heraldic terms as follows:
Upon an oval medallion of vermilion, enclosed by a scroll a cross-hilted sword belted and sheathed, pommel upwards, between two spurs, rowels upwards, the whole set about with the sword belt, all gilt.
In 1974, Queen Elizabeth II issued a further warrant authorising the wearing on appropriate occasions of a neck badge, slightly smaller in size, and in miniature. In 1988 a new certificate of authentication, a knight's only personal documentation, was designed by the College of Arms.
The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor was founded for the maintenance and consolidation of the Dignity of Knights Bachelor in 1908, and obtained official recognition from the Sovereign in 1912. The Society keeps records of all Knights Bachelor, in their interest.
A knight is a person granted an honorary title of knighthood by a head of state or representative for service to the monarch, the church or the country, especially in a military capacity.
The British honours system is a means of rewarding individuals' personal bravery, achievement, or service to the United Kingdom and the British Overseas Territories. The system consists of three types of award – honours, decorations and medals:
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. It was established on 4 June 1917 by King George V and comprises five classes across both civil and military divisions, the most senior two of which make the recipient either a knight if male or dame if female. There is also the related British Empire Medal, whose recipients are affiliated with, but not members of the order.
Sir is a formal English honorific address for men, derived from Sire in the High Middle Ages. Traditionally, as governed by law and custom, Sir is used for men titled knights i.e. of orders of chivalry, and later also to baronets, and other offices. As the female equivalent for knighthood is damehood, the suo jure female equivalent term is typically Dame. The wife of a knight or baronet tends to be addressed Lady, although a few exceptions and interchanges of these uses exist.
The Most Honourable Order of the Bath is a British order of chivalry founded by George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, which involved bathing as one of its elements. The knights so created were known as "Knights of the Bath". George I "erected the Knights of the Bath into a regular Military Order". He did not revive the Order of the Bath, since it had never previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights who were governed by a set of statutes and whose numbers were replenished when vacancies occurred.
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later King George IV, while he was acting as regent for his father, King George III.
The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is an order of chivalry associated with Scotland. The current version of the Order was founded in 1687 by King James VII of Scotland who asserted that he was reviving an earlier Order. The Order consists of the Sovereign and sixteen Knights and Ladies, as well as certain "extra" knights. The Sovereign alone grants membership of the Order; he or she is not advised by the Government, as occurs with most other Orders.
The Royal Victorian Order is a dynastic order of knighthood established in 1896 by Queen Victoria. It recognises distinguished personal service to the monarch of the Commonwealth realms, members of the monarch's family, or to any viceroy or senior representative of the monarch. The present monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, is the sovereign of the order, the order's motto is Victoria, and its official day is 20 June. The order's chapel is the Savoy Chapel in London.
The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India is an order of chivalry founded by Queen Victoria in 1861. The Order includes members of three classes:
The Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire is an order of chivalry founded by Queen Victoria in 1878. The Order includes members of three classes:
A necklet is a type of decoration which is designed to be worn and displayed around a person's neck, rather than hung (draped) from the chest as is the standard practice for displaying most decorations.
The accolade was the central act in the rite of passage ceremonies conferring knighthood in the Middle Ages. From about 1852, the term accolade was used much more generally to mean "praise" or "award" or "honour."
An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order of knights typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic military orders of the Crusades, paired with medieval concepts of ideals of chivalry.
Dame is an honorific title and the feminine form of address for the honour of damehood in many Christian chivalric orders, as well as the British honours system and those of several other Commonwealth countries, such as Australia and New Zealand, with the masculine form of address being sir. It is the female equivalent for knighthood, which is traditionally granted to males. Dame is also style used by baronetess in their own right.
Commander, or Knight Commander, is a title of honor prevalent in chivalric orders and fraternal orders.
The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor was formed in 1908 in the United Kingdom and received royal recognition in 1912. Its patron is Queen Elizabeth II. It is a registered charity and seeks to uphold and advise on the dignity and rights of Knight Bachelor and knighthood, and to register every duly authenticated knighthood.
The Order of Saint Stanislaus, also spelled Stanislas, is a Russian dynastic order of knighthood founded as Order of the Knights of Saint Stanislaus, Bishop and Martyr in 1765 by King Stanisław II Augustus of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. In 1831 after the downfall of the November Uprising, the order was incorporated into the Chapter of Russian Orders as part of the honours system of the Russian Empire by Emperor Nicholas I of Russia.
The Order of Saint Joachim was an order of chivalry founded in 1755 to promote religious tolerance in Europe.
A collar is an ornate chain, often made of gold and enamel, and set with precious stones, which is worn about the neck as a symbol of membership in various chivalric orders. It is a particular form of the livery collar, the grandest form of the widespread phenomenon of livery in the Middle Ages and Early Modern Period. Orders which have several grades often reserve the collar for the highest grade. The links of the chain are usually composed of symbols of the order, and the badge of the order normally hangs down in front. Sometimes the badge is referred to by what is depicted on it; for instance, the badge that hangs from the chain of the Order of the Garter is referred to as "the George".
The following is a list of living Australians who have been appointed Knights or Dames.