Order of the Star of India

Last updated
The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India
Insignia of the Knight Grand Commander of the order Vector.svg
Insignia of a Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India (GCSI)
Awarded by
monarch of the United Kingdom
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom.svg
Type Order of chivalry
Established1861
MottoHeaven's Light Our Guide
Awarded forAt the monarch's pleasure
StatusLast appointment in 1947
Dormant order since 2009
Founder Victoria
Sovereign Charles III
Grades
  • Knight Grand Commander (GCSI)
  • Knight Commander (KCSI)
  • Companion (CSI)
Former gradesKnight Companion
Precedence
Next (higher) Order of the Bath
Next (lower) Order of St Michael and St George
ImperialOrderCrownIndiaRibbon.svg
Ribbon bar of the Star of India

Order of the Star of India.png

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:

Contents

  1. Knight Grand Commander (GCSI)
  2. Knight Commander (KCSI)
  3. Companion (CSI)

No appointments have been made since the 1948 New Year Honours, shortly after the Partition of India in 1947. Following the death in 2009 of the last surviving knight, the Maharaja of Alwar, the order became dormant.

The motto of the order was "Heaven's Light Our Guide". The Star of India emblem, the insignia of order and the informal emblem of British India, was also used as the basis of a series of flags to represent the Indian Empire.

The order was the fifth most senior British order of chivalry, following the Order of the Garter, Order of the Thistle, Order of St Patrick and Order of the Bath. It is the senior order of chivalry associated with the British Raj; junior to it is the Most Eminent Order of the Indian Empire, and there is also, for women only, the Imperial Order of the Crown of India.

History

Several years after the Indian Rebellion of 1857 and the consolidation of Great Britain's power as the governing authority in India, it was decided by the British Crown to create a new order of knighthood to honour Indian Princes and Chiefs, as well as British officers and administrators who served in India. On 25 June 1861, the following proclamation was issued by Queen Victoria:

The Queen, being desirous of affording to the Princes, Chiefs and People of the Indian Empire, a public and signal testimony of Her regard, by the Institution of an Order of knighthood, whereby Her resolution to take upon Herself the Government of the Territories in India may be commemorated, and by which Her Majesty may be enabled to reward conspicuous merit and loyalty, has been graciously pleased, by Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, to institute, erect, constitute, and create, an Order of Knighthood, to be known by, and have for ever hereafter, the name, style, and designation, of "The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India" [1]

The flag of the Viceroy of India displayed the Star of the Order beneath the Tudor Crown. Flag of the Governor-General of India (1885-1947).svg
The flag of the Viceroy of India displayed the Star of the Order beneath the Tudor Crown.

Recipients

George V investing an Indian Prince with The Star of India, 14th December, 1911 by William Barnes Wollen William Barnes Wollen - Wollen-98228 - George V investing an Indian Prince with The Star of India.jpg
George V investing an Indian Prince with The Star of India, 14th December, 1911 by William Barnes Wollen

Knights Companion

19 persons were appointed Knights Companion at the creation of the Order: [1]

12 additional Knights Companion were appointed over the next five years.

On 24 May 1866, the Order was expanded to additional ranks. All surviving Knights Companion were elevated to Grand Commander.

Later appointments

Additional appointments were made to the Order in the ranks of Grand Commander, Knight Commander, and Companion. These include

The last appointments to the Order were made in the 1948 New Year Honours, some months after the Partition of India in August 1947.

The Order has never been formally abolished, and Charles III succeeded his mother Elizabeth II as Sovereign of the Orders when he acceded the throne in 2022. He remains Sovereign of the Order to this day. However, there are no living members of the Order.

The Order of the Indian Empire, founded in 1877, was intended to be a less exclusive version of the Order of the Star of India; consequently, many more appointments were made to the latter than to the former.

As the last Grand Master of the Orders, the Earl Mountbatten of Burma was also the last known individual to wear publicly the stars of a Knight Grand Commander of both Orders, during the Queen's Silver Jubilee celebrations in 1977. [8]

Composition

Investiture of the Star of India, Delhi (detail), by George Jacomb-Hood. King George V is depicted awarding the GCSI to Ganga Singh, Maharaja of Bikaner, at the 1911 Delhi Durbar Investiture of the Star of India.JPG
Investiture of the Star of India, Delhi (detail), by George Jacomb-Hood. King George V is depicted awarding the GCSI to Ganga Singh, Maharaja of Bikaner, at the 1911 Delhi Durbar

The British Sovereign was, and still is, Sovereign of the Order. The next most senior member was the Grand Master, a position held ex officio by the Viceroy of India. When the order was established in 1861, there was only one class of Knights Companion, who bore the postnominals KSI. In 1866, however, it was expanded to three classes. Members of the first class were known as "Knights Grand Commander" (rather than the usual "Knights Grand Cross") so as not to offend the non-Christian Indians appointed to the Order. All those surviving members who had already been made Knights Companion of the Order were retroactively known as Knights Grand Commander.

Former viceroys and other high officials, as well as those who served in the Department of the Secretary of State for India for at least thirty years were eligible for appointment. Rulers of Indian Princely States were also eligible for appointment. Some states were of such importance that their rulers were almost always appointed Knights Grand Commanders; such rulers included the Nizam of Hyderabad, the Maharaja of Mysore, the Maharaja of Jammu and Kashmir, the Maharaja of Baroda, the Maharajas of Gwalior, the Nawab of Bhopal, the Maharaja of Indore, the Maharajas of Singrauli, the Maharana of Udaipur, the Maharaja of Travancore, the Maharaja of Jodhpur and the Maharao of Cutch.

Kashi Naresh Prabhu Narayan Singh of Benares and Sir Azizul Haque were appointed Knight Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (KCIE) in 1892 and 1941 respectively, Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Indian Empire (GCIE) in 1898, and Knight Grand Commander of the Order of the Star of India (GCSI) for his services in the First World War in the 1921 New Year Honours. [9]

Rulers of other nations in Asia and the Middle East, including the Emir of Kuwait, the Maharajas of the Rana dynasty, the Khedive of Egypt, the King of Bhutan and the rulers of Zanzibar, Bahrain and Oman were also appointed to the Order. Like some rulers of princely states, some rulers of particular prestige, for example the Maharajas of the Rana dynasty or the Sultans of Oman, were usually appointed Knights Grand Commanders.

Women, save the princely rulers, were ineligible for appointment to the order. They were, unlike the habit of many other orders, admitted as "Knights", rather than as "Dames" or "Ladies". The first woman to be admitted to the order was Nawab Sikandar Begum Sahiba, Nawab Begum of Bhopal; she was created a Knight Companion at the Order's foundation in 1861. The order's statutes were specially amended to permit the admission of Queen Mary as a Knight Grand Commander in 1911.

Vestments and accoutrements

Mantle of the Order GCSI mantle.jpg
Mantle of the Order

Members of the Order wore elaborate costumes on important ceremonial occasions:

On certain "collar days" designated by the Sovereign, members attending formal events wore the order's collar over their military uniform, formal day dress, or evening wear. When collars were worn (either on collar days or on formal occasions such as coronations), the badge was suspended from the collar.

Representation of the star of the order on the mantle GCSI star.jpg
Representation of the star of the order on the mantle

At less important occasions, simpler insignia were used:

Unlike the insignia of most other British chivalric orders, the insignia of the Order of the Star of India did not incorporate crosses, as they were deemed unacceptable to the Indian Princes appointed to the Order.

Precedence and privileges

Members of all classes of the Order were assigned positions in the order of precedence. Wives of members of all classes also featured on the order of precedence, as did sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of Knights Grand Commanders and Knights Commanders. (See order of precedence in England and Wales for the exact positions.)

Star and Collar of a Knight Grand Commander of the Order Star of India Insignia (1).svg
Star and Collar of a Knight Grand Commander of the Order

Knights Grand Commanders used the post-nominal initials "GCSI", Knights Commanders "KCSI" and Companions "CSI". Knights Grand Commanders and Knights Commanders prefixed "Sir" to their forenames. Wives of Knights Grand Commanders and Knights Commanders could prefix "Lady" to their surnames. Such forms were not used by peers and Indian princes, except when the names of the former were written out in their fullest forms.

Knights Grand Commanders were also entitled to receive heraldic supporters. They could, furthermore, encircle their arms with a depiction of the circlet (a circle bearing the motto) and the collar; the former is shown either outside or on top of the latter. Knights Commanders and Companions were permitted to display the circlet, but not the collar, surrounding their arms. The badge is depicted suspended from the collar or circlet.

See also

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Order of the Indian Empire</span> Dormant British order of chivalry established 1878

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:

  1. Knight Grand Commander (GCIE)
  2. Knight Commander (KCIE)
  3. Companion (CIE)
<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sadeq Mohammad Khan V</span> 12th and final Nawab of the state of Bahawalpur (1904–1966)

General Nawab Sir Sadiq Muhammad Khan V Abbasi was the 12th and final Nawab (ruler) of the state of Bahawalpur from February 1907 to October 1955, and then as a titular figure until his death in 1966.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Takhtsinhji</span> Maharaja of Bhavnagar from 1870–1896

Maharaja Raol Sir Takhtsinhji JaswantsinhjiKIH, was Maharaja of Bhavnagar, a Rajput chief of the Gohil clan, and ruler of Bhavnagar state in Kathiawar. He succeeded to the throne of Bhavnagar upon the death of his father, Jaswantsinhji, in 1870.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nawabs of Bhopal</span> Indian Muslim rulers (1707–1949)

The Nawabs of Bhopal were the Muslim rulers of Bhopal, now part of Madhya Pradesh, India. The nawabs first ruled under the Mughal Empire from 1707 to 1737, under the Maratha Empire from 1737 to 1818, then under British rule from 1818 to 1947, and independently thereafter until it was acceded to the Union of India in 1949. The female nawabs of Bhopal held the title Nawab Begum of Bhopal.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Bhupinder Singh of Patiala</span> Maharaja of Patiala (r. 1900–1938) and cricket player

Maharaja Sir Bhupinder Singh, was an Indian royal and cricket player. He was the ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Patiala in British India from 1900 to 1938. He was born in a Sidhu royal Jat Sikh family.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jagatjit Singh</span> Last ruling Maharaja of Kapurthala from 1877–1947

Maharajah Sir Jagatjit Singh Sahib Bahadur Ahluwalia was the last ruling Maharaja of the princely state of Kapurthala in the British Empire of India, from 1877 until his death, in 1949. He ascended to the throne of Kapurthala state on 16 October 1877 and assumed full ruling powers on 24 November 1890 as well indulging in traveling the world and being a Francophile. He was born in an Ahluwalia Sikh family. He received the title of Maharaja in 1911. He built palaces and gardens in the city of Kapurthala; his main palace, Jagatjit Palace there was modelled on the Palace of Versailles. He also built a gurdwara at Sultanpur Lodhi.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Hamidullah Khan</span> Nawab of Bhopal

Hamidullah Khan was the last ruling Nawab of the princely salute state of Bhopal. He ruled from 1926 when his mother, Begum Kaikhusrau Jahan Begum, abdicated in his favor, until 1949 and held the honorific title until his death in 1960. A delegate to the Round Table Conference in London, he served as Chancellor of the Chamber of Princes from 1944 to 1947, when India became independent.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Madho Rao Scindia</span> Maharaja of Gwalior (1876–1925)

Maharaja Sir Madho Rao Scindia of Gwalior, was the 5th Maharaja of Gwalior belonging to the Scindian dynasty of the Marathas.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Pratap Singh of Idar</span> Maharaja of Idar (1845–1922)

Lieutenant-General Sir Pratap Singh,, was a decorated British Indian Army officer, Maharaja of the princely state of Idar (Gujarat), administrator and Regent of Jodhpur and heir to Ahmednagar later renamed as Himmatnagar from 1902 to 1911.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jai Singh Prabhakar</span> Maharaja of Alwar from 1882–1937

Colonel HH Raj Rajeshwar Bharat Dharma Prabhakar Maharaja Shri Sawai Sir Jai Singhji Veerendra Shiromani Dev Bahadur, was the Naruka Kachwaha Rajput ruler of the Princely State of Alwar from the year 1892 to 1937. The only son of the previous ruler, Sir Mangal Singh Prabhakar Bahadur, Sir Jai Singh initially was noted as brilliant, erudite and charming. However, he was later forced into exile. He died in 1937 at the age of 54. He was succeeded by a distant relative, Tej Singh Prabhakar Bahadur.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Umed Singh II</span> Maharaja of Kotah from 1889–1940

Maharajadhiraj Shri Maharaja Mahim Mahendra Maharao Raja Sir Umaid Singh II was the Hada Chauhan ruler of the Princely State of Kotah from the year 1889 to 1940.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maharaja Prabhu Narayan Singh</span> Maharaja Bahadur of Benares from 1889–1931

Prabhu Narayan Singh was ruler of the Benares State, an Indian princely state, from 1889 to 1931. Prabhu Narayan Singh would reign for 42 years as Maharaja; in 1891, he was knighted with the KCIE, later becoming an honorary colonel in the Indian Army.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Umaid Singh</span> Maharaja of Jodhpur (1903–1947)

Lieutenant-General HH Shri Raj Rajeshwar Saramad-e-Raja-e-Hindustan Maharajadhiraja Maharaja Sir Umaid Singh Bahadur, Assoc KStJ, also spelled Umed Singh, was the Maharaja of Jodhpur State of the historic Rathore dynasty of Marwar from the year 1918 to 1947 until his death.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ranbir Singh Jind</span> Last ruling Maharaja of Jind from 1887–1948

Maharajah Sir Ranbir Singh was the Maharaja of Jind. He ruled Jind from 1887 to 1948.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sultan Jahan, Begum of Bhopal</span> Nawab Begum of Bhopal

Sultan Jahan was the ruling Begum of Bhopal between 1901 and 1926.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Maratha titles</span> Titles used by Maratha community of India

The following list includes a brief about the titles of nobility or orders of chivalry used by the Marathas of India and by the Marathis/Konkanis in general.

Events in the year 1707 in India.

The New Year Honours 1903, announced at the time as the Durbar Honours, were appointments to various orders and honours of the United Kingdom and British India. The list was announced on the day of the 1903 Delhi Durbar held to celebrate the succession of King Edward VII and Queen Alexandra as Emperor and Empress of India. The membership of the two Indian Orders were expanded to allow for all the new appointments.

The 1911 Delhi Durbar was held in December 1911 following the coronation in London in June of that year of King George V and Queen Mary. The King and Queen travelled to Delhi for the Durbar. For the occasion, the statutory limits of the membership of the Order of the Star of India and the Order of the Indian Empire were increased and many appointments were made to these and other orders. These honours were published in a supplement to the London Gazette dated 8 December 1911.

References

  1. 1 2 "No. 22523". The London Gazette . 25 June 1861. p. 2622.
  2. "No. 22542". The London Gazette. 27 August 1861. p. 3501.
  3. "No. 22788". The London Gazette. 13 November 1863. p. 5361.
  4. "No. 22920". The London Gazette. 13 December 1864. p. 6545.
  5. "No. 23073". The London Gazette. 20 February 1866. p. 973.
  6. Lethbridge, Sir Roper (2005). The Golden Book of India: A Genealogical and Biographical Dictionary of the Ruling Princes, Chiefs, Nobles, and Other Personages, Titled Or Decorated of the Indian Empire. Aakar Books. ISBN   978-81-87879-54-1. Archived from the original on 30 June 2023. Retrieved 13 August 2022.
  7. Library, India Collection at the British (22 December 2017). "Nawab of Bahawalpur, 1870". The Friday Times - Naya Daur. Archived from the original on 22 September 2022. Retrieved 7 August 2022.
  8. 1 2 Vickers, Hugo (1994). Royal Orders. Great Britain: Boxtree Limited. p. 140. ISBN   1852835109.
  9. "No. 32178". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 1921. p. 5.