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Monarch of the United Kingdom
|Sir Gary Hickinbottom
Ribbon bar of the Knight Bachelor Medal
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. A man who is knighted is formally addressed as "Sir [First Name] [Surname]" or "Sir [First Name]" and his wife as "Lady [Surname]".
Knighthood is usually conferred for public service; amongst its recipients are all male judges of His 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 recognized for achievements in entertainment. For instance, Sir Michael Gambon, Sir Mo Farah, Sir Derek Jacobi, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Sir Elton John, Sir Michael Caine, Sir Billy Connolly, Sir Barry Gibb and Sir Ian McKellen are Commanders of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE); Sir Patrick Stewart, Sir Cliff Richard, Sir Tom Jones and Sir Van Morrison are Officers of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBE); while Sir Paul McCartney, Sir Richard Starkey (Ringo Starr), and Sir Nick Faldo 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.The award originated in the Middle Ages. There are no post-nominal letters associated with the honour nor can it be awarded to women. (They are appointed Dames Commander of the Order of the British Empire instead.)
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, 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 Bachelorwas 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.
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).
Only citizens of Commonwealth realms can be created Knights Bachelor; people of other nationalities are generally made honorary KBEs.
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. Knighthood finds origins in the ancient Greek hippeis (ἱππεῖς) and Roman equites.
In the United Kingdom and the British Overseas Territories, personal bravery, achievement, or service are rewarded with honours. The honours system consists of three types of award:
The Most Noble Order of the Garter is an order of chivalry founded by Edward III of England in 1348. The most senior order of knighthood in the British honours system, it is decoration outranked in precedence only by the Victoria Cross and the George Cross. The Order of the Garter is dedicated to the image and arms of Saint George, England's patron saint.
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 organizations, 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 honorific address in English for men, derived from Sire in the High Middle Ages. Both are derived from the old French "Sieur" (Lord), brought to England by the French-speaking Normans, and which now exist in French only as part of "Monsieur", with the equivalent "My Lord" in English. Traditionally, as governed by law and custom, Sir is used for men who are knights and belong to certain orders of chivalry, as well as later applied 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 as 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 King George I on 18 May 1725. The name derives from the elaborate medieval ceremony for appointing a knight, of which bathing was an element. Knights so created were known as 'Knights of the Bath'. George I constituted the Knights of the Bath a regular 'Military Order'. He did not revive the Order of the Bath, which had not previously existed as an Order, in the sense of a body of knights 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 of Wales, while he was acting as prince 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; they are 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, members of the royal family, or to any viceroy or senior representative of the monarch. The present monarch, King Charles III, is the sovereign of the order. The order's motto is Victoria. The order's 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 on 1 January 1878. The Order includes members of three classes:
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 and 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 realms, such as Australia and New Zealand, with the masculine form of address being Sir. It is the female equivalent of a knighthood, which is traditionally granted to males. Dame is also a style used by baronetesses in their own right.
A livery collar or chain of office is a collar or heavy chain, usually of gold, worn as insignia of office or a mark of fealty or other association in Europe from the Middle Ages onwards.
Commander, or Knight Commander, is a title of honor prevalent in chivalric orders and fraternal orders.
The Order of Saint Joachim is an order of chivalry founded in 1755 to promote religious tolerance in Europe, and continues to exist today. Admiral Horatio Nelson accepted the Grand Cross of the Order in 1802.
A collar, also known as collar of an order, 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".