|Order of the Elephant|
Badge of the Order of the Elephant.
|Awarded by |
Sovereign of Denmark
|Type||Chivalric order in one class|
(Latin: The prize of greatness)
|Awarded for||At the Monarch's pleasure|
|Grades||R.E. (Ridder af Elefantordenen)|
|First induction||1768 |
|Last induction||2018 |
|Next (higher)||None (Highest)|
|Next (lower)||Order of the Dannebrog|
Order of the Elephant ribbon
The Order of the Elephant (Danish : Elefantordenen) is a Danish order of chivalry and is Denmark's highest-ranked honour. It has origins in the 15th century, but has officially existed since 1693, and since the establishment of constitutional monarchy in 1849, is now almost exclusively used to honour royalty and heads of state.
Danish is a North Germanic language spoken by around six million people, principally in Denmark and in the region of Southern Schleswig in northern Germany, where it has minority language status. Also, minor Danish-speaking communities are found in Norway, Sweden, Spain, the United States, Canada, Brazil, and Argentina. Due to immigration and language shift in urban areas, around 15–20% of the population of Greenland speak Danish as their first language.
Denmark, officially the Kingdom of Denmark, is a Nordic country and the southernmost of the Scandinavian nations. Denmark lies southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and is bordered to the south by Germany. The Kingdom of Denmark also comprises two autonomous constituent countries in the North Atlantic Ocean: the Faroe Islands and Greenland. Denmark proper consists of a peninsula, Jutland, and an archipelago of 443 named islands, with the largest being Zealand, Funen and the North Jutlandic Island. The islands are characterised by flat, arable land and sandy coasts, low elevation and a temperate climate. Denmark has a total area of 42,924 km2 (16,573 sq mi), land area of 42,394 km2 (16,368 sq mi), and the total area including Greenland and the Faroe Islands is 2,210,579 km2 (853,509 sq mi), and a population of 5.8 million.
A chivalric order, order of chivalry, order of knighthood or equestrian order is an order, confraternity or society of knights typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic military orders of the Crusades, paired with medieval concepts of ideals of chivalry.
The symbol most likely indicates the influence of the Danish East India Company.[ citation needed ]
The Danish East India Company refers to two separate Danish chartered companies. The first company operated between 1616 and 1650. The second company existed between 1670 and 1729, however, in 1730 it was re-founded as the Asiatic Company.
A Danish religious confraternity called the Fellowship of the Mother of God, limited to about fifty members of the Danish aristocracy, was founded during the reign of Christian I during the 15th century. The badge of the confraternity showed the Virgin Mary holding her Son within a crescent moon and surrounded with the rays of the sun, and was hung from a collar of links in the form of elephants much like the present collar of the Order. After the Reformation in 1536 the confraternity died out, but a badge in the form of an elephant with his profile on its right side was still awarded by Frederick II.This latter badge may have been inspired by the badge of office of the chaplain of the confraternity which is known to have been in the form of an elephant. The order was instituted in its current form on 1 December 1693 by King Christian V as having only one class consisting of only 30 noble knights in addition to the Grand Master (i.e., the king) and his sons. The statutes of the order were amended in 1958 by a Royal Ordinance so that both men and women could be members of the order.
A confraternity is generally a Christian voluntary association of lay people created for the purpose of promoting special works of Christian charity or piety, and approved by the Church hierarchy. They are most common among Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans and the Western Orthodox. When a confraternity has received the authority to aggregate to itself groups erected in other localities, it is called an archconfraternity. An example is the Confraternity of the Rosary.
The elephant and castle design derives from an elephant carrying a howdah, the familiar castle replacing the unfamiliar howdah, and finds use elsewhere in European iconography, as discussed at howdah.
A howdah, or houdah, derived from the Arabic هودج (hawdaj), that means "bed carried by a camel", also known as hathi howdah, is a carriage which is positioned on the back of an elephant, or occasionally some other animal such as camels, used most often in the past to carry wealthy people or for use in hunting or warfare. It was also a symbol of wealth for the owner and as a result was decorated with expensive gemstones.
The Danish monarch is the head of the order. The members of the royal family are members of the order, and foreign heads of state are also inducted. In very exceptional circumstances a commoner may also be admitted. The most recent member of the order who was neither a current or former head of state nor royal was Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller, a leading industrialist and philanthropist.
Arnold Mærsk Mc-Kinney Møller was a Danish shipping magnate. He was a longtime figure at A.P. Moller–Maersk Group, which was founded by his father.
The order of the Elephant has one class: Knight of the Order of the Elephant (Ridder af Elefantordenen, usually abbreviated as R.E. in letters et cetera). Knights of the order are granted a place in the 1st Class of the Danish order of precedence.
Upon the death of a Knight of the Order of the Elephant, the insignia of the order must be returned. There are a few exceptions known.
Previous knights have included:
Margrethe II is the Queen of Denmark, as well as the supreme authority of the Church of Denmark and Commander-in-Chief of the Danish Defence. Born into the House of Glücksburg, a royal house with origins in Northern Germany, she was the eldest child of Frederick IX of Denmark and Ingrid of Sweden. She became heir presumptive to her father in 1953, when a constitutional amendment allowed women to inherit the throne.
Princess Benedikte of Denmark, Princess of Sayn-Wittgenstein-Berleburg is the second daughter and child of King Frederick IX and Queen Ingrid of Denmark. She is the younger sister of the reigning Queen of Denmark, Margrethe II, and the older sister of Queen Anne-Marie of Greece.
The Order of the Falcon is the only order of chivalry of Iceland, founded by King Christian X of Denmark and Iceland on 3 July 1921. The award is awarded for merit for Iceland and humanity and has five degrees. Nowadays, appointments are made on the nomination of the President of Iceland and that of a "five-member council".
The Order of the Dannebrog is a Danish order of chivalry instituted in 1671 by Christian V. Until 1808, membership in the order was limited to fifty members of noble or royal rank who formed a single class known as White Knights to distinguish them from the Blue Knights who were members of the Order of the Elephant. In 1808, the Order was reformed and divided into four classes. The Grand Commander class is reserved to persons of princely origin. It is only awarded to royalty with close family ties with the Danish Royal House. The statute of the Order was amended in 1951 by a Royal Ordinance so that both men and women could be members of the Order.
The Royal Norwegian Order of Saint Olav is a Norwegian order of chivalry instituted by King Oscar I on August 21, 1847. It is named after King Olav II, known to posterity as St. Olav.
The Royal Order of the Seraphim is a Swedish order of chivalry created by King Frederick I on 23 February 1748, together with the Order of the Sword and the Order of the Polar Star. The order has only one class with the dignity of Knight, and is the foremost order of Sweden.
The Order of the Polar Star is a Swedish order of chivalry created by King Frederick I on 23 February 1748, together with the Order of the Sword and the Order of the Seraphim.
The Royal Order of Kalākaua I was instituted on 28 September 1874 by King Kalākaua I to commemorate his accession to the throne of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi on 12 February 1874.
The Order of Kamehameha I was the first Knightly Order of the Kingdom of Hawaiʻi.
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".
Gustaf VI Adolf was King of Sweden from 29 October 1950 until his death. He was the eldest son of King Gustaf V and his wife, Victoria of Baden, and had been Crown Prince of Sweden for the preceding 43 years in the reign of his father. Not long before his death at age 90, he approved the constitutional changes which removed the last traces of political power from the Swedish monarch. He was a lifelong amateur archeologist particularly interested in Ancient Italian cultures.
The Order of the Pleiades, also named Order of Haft Paykar, was an all-female order of the former Imperial State of Iran.
The Royal Order of the Crown of Tonga is an Order of Merit awarded for exceptional services to Tonga and the Crown of Tonga.
The Most Illustrious Order of Queen Salote Tupou III is a knighthood order of the Kingdom of Tonga.