Order of the Star of Romania

Last updated
Order of the Star of Romania
Ordinul Steaua României
Collar of the Order
Awarded by the King of Romania
The President of Romania
since 1998
Type Order of Merit
Country Kingdom of Romania
Eligibility(1) Civil, Military;
(2) Military units;
(3) Foreign citizens
Criteria(1) Exceptional civil and military services to the Romanian State and the Romanian people;
(2) For special acts in time of peace or for heroic acts in time of war;
(3) For contributing to the development of the friendship relations with Romania, or for other exceptional services to the Romanian State and the Romanian People.
StatusCurrently awarded
Grand Master President Klaus Iohannis
Grand Cross
Grand Officer
Next (higher) Order of Michael the Brave
Next (lower) Order of Faithful Service

Order of the Star of Romania - Ribbon bar.svg
Ribbon of the Order of the Star of Romania

The Order of the Star of Romania (Romanian: Ordinul Steaua României) is Romania's highest civil Order and second highest State decoration after the Order of Michael the Brave. It is the oldest Order of Romania. It is awarded by the President of Romania, and has six grades, from lowest to the highest: Knight, Officer, Commander, Grand Officer, Grand Cross, and Grand Cross with Collar.



In 1863, Alexandru Ioan Cuza, the Domnitor of the United Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, asked the Romanian representative to Paris to contact the then well-known jewellery house Krétly, to manufacture a state decoration. Krétly presented a model, which was immediately accepted by the domnitor, and based on his agreement, 1,000 pieces of the order were made. It was decided that the order would have five ranks: Knight (Cavaler), Officer (Ofițer), Commander (Comandor), Grand Officer (Mare Ofițer), and Grand Cross (Mare Cruce). [1]

Unlike all other decorations in that time that were mostly inspired on the French Légion d'honneur, or which had their insignia like a Maltese cross, the model proposed by Krétly for this order was a blue cross crosslet (cruce repetată), a design that was then unique in decorational design. [1]

The domnitor decided that the name of the honour would be "The Order of the Union" ("Ordinul Unirii"). It was planned to institute the order on 24 January 1864, the date when the 5th anniversary of his election would be celebrated and a moment that marked the unification of the principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia. Because of this, the motto of the new order would fit the event: "GENERE ET CORDES FRATRES" ("BROTHERS THROUGH ORIGINS AND FEELINGS"). The obverse of the insignia would bear the numbers "5" and "24", the days of January when he was elected in both Moldova and Wallachia. [1]

However, due to the overthrow of Alexandru Ioan Cuza by a palace coup, he was unable to actually institute the order, and he awarded the insignia therefore only as a personal present, not as a state decoration. Most of the insignia produced for him remained stored in the Royal Palace's cellars. [1]

The original 1877 model - Commander rank (obverse). Steaua Romaniei Com civ md 1877 av.jpg
The original 1877 model - Commander rank (obverse).

In April 1877, when Romania gained independence from the Ottoman Empire, the debate regarding the institution of Romanian decorations was revived. Mihail Kogălniceanu, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Ion Brătianu cabinet, took part in the debates in the Assembly of Deputies regarding the institution of a state decoration. Because of the already earlier supplied "Order of The Union", it was decided that the shape of the decoration would be the same, modifying only the domnitor's seal. The motto was also changed, because the old one was not appropriate to the moment, to "IN FIDE SALUS" ("IN FAITH IS THE SALVATION"). Regarding the name, Kogălniceanu insisted on "Steaua Dunării" ("The Star of The Danube"). [1]

The name "Steaua României" ("The Star of Romania") appeared on 10 May 1877, when the law was voted in the Parliament, as the first law of the Sovereign Romania. [1]

By Royal Decree (no. 1545/1932), King Carol II changed the order of precedence in the Romanian honours system. As a result, in 1932, The Star of Romania dropped in precedence from second place (where it had been since 1906) to fourth place (after the Order of Carol I and the Order of Ferdinand I  [ ro ]). In 1937, it dropped to seventh place. The main shape of the order, the blue repeated cross (called also "Romanian cross") was kept, but the rays between the cross' arms were replaced by four heraldic eagles with wings spread, the insignia of King Carol I was placed on the obverse, and the reverse bore the year of its establishment, "1877". Also the number of persons that could be awarded The Star of Romania was increased: [1]

In 1938, the order was given a superior rank, called "Clasa I" (First Class in English), between the Grand Officer rank and the Grand Cross rank, with a maximum of 50 civilians and 15 military personnel. [1]

The statutes established by King Carol II were changed by General Ion Antonescu (who became Conducător on 4 September 1940). Generally, the rules were the ones used during World War I. The order "The Star of Romania" became the second in the national hierarchy, after that of the Order of Michael the Brave. [1]

Inspired by the German Iron Cross, Ion Antonescu decided that the first three grades of the orders the Star of Romania and the Crown of Romania, with spades (swords), and the ribbon of The Medal "The Military Virtue" would be awarded for exceptionally brave acts with an oak leaf, attached to the ribbon. [1]

After 1948, all the existing decorations were outlawed, and their wearing was forbidden. Just by keeping the insignia, one was considered a delinquent in the first years of communism. [1]

In 1993, the idea of reinstating the oldest Order was proposed within the Special Commission of the Chamber of Deputies. After several attempts, in 1998/1999 the National Order "The Star of Romania" was reinstituted, with a design similar to the one used in 1932, but without the insignia of King Carol I, and with the republican insignia. [1]


As per Law 29/2000, regarding Romania's national system of decorations, there are currently six grades: [2]

Notable recipients

First issue (1877–1948)

Second issue (since 1998)

Foreign citizens

No.NameKnown forYear
1 Flag of France.svg Jacques Chirac President of France1998
2 Flag of Peru.svg Alberto Fujimori President of Peru
3 Flag of Finland.svg Martti Ahtisaari President of Finland
4 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Petar Stoyanov President of Bulgaria
5 Flag of Poland.svg Aleksander Kwaśniewski President of Poland1999
6 Flag of Austria.svg Thomas Klestil President of Austria
7 Flag of Greece.svg Konstantinos Stephanopoulos President of Greece
8 Flag of Turkey.svg Süleyman Demirel President of Turkey
9 Flag of Norway.svg Harald V King of Norway
10 Flag of Qatar.svg Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani Emir of Qatar
11 Flag of Kuwait.svg Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah Emir of Kuwait
12 Flag of Kazakhstan.svg Nursultan Nazarbayev President of Kazakhstan
13 Flag of Albania.svg Rexhep Meidani President of Albania
14 Flag of Israel.svg Ezer Weizman President of Israel
15 Flag of Moldova.svg Petru Lucinschi President of Moldova2000
16 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Elizabeth II Queen of the United Kingdom
17 Flag of Portugal.svg Jorge Sampaio President of Portugal
18 Flag of Hungary.svg Árpád Göncz President of Hungary
19 Flag of Denmark.svg Margrethe II Queen of Denmark
20 Flag of Slovakia.svg Rudolf Schuster President of Slovakia
21 Flag of Croatia.svg Stjepan Mesić President of Croatia
22 Flag of Mexico.svg Ernesto Zedillo President of Mexico
23 Flag of Brazil.svg Fernando Henrique Cardoso President of Brazil
24 Flag of Thailand.svg Bhumibol Adulyadej King of Thailand
25 Flag of Ukraine.svg Leonid Kuchma President of Ukraine
26 Flag of Lebanon.svg Émile Lahoud President of Lebanon2001
27 Flag of Ghana.svg Kofi Annan Secretary-General of the United Nations
28 Flag of the Netherlands.svg Beatrix Queen of the Netherlands
29 Flag of Lithuania.svg Valdas Adamkus President of Lithuania
30 Flag of Latvia.svg Vaira Vīķe-Freiberga President of Latvia
31 Flag of the Order of St. John (various).svg Andrew Bertie Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta2002
32 Flag of the United Arab Emirates.svg Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan President of United Arab Emirates
33 Flag of the Philippines.svg Gloria Macapagal Arroyo President of Philippines
34 Flag of Slovenia.svg Milan Kučan President of Slovenia
35 Flag of Hungary.svg Ferenc Mádl President of Hungary
36 Flag of the United States.svg George W. Bush President of the United States
37 Flag of San Marino.svg Mauro ChiaruzziCaptains Regent of San Marino
38 Flag of San Marino.svg Giuseppe Maria MorgantiCaptains Regent of San Marino
39 Flag of Tunisia.svg Zine El Abidine Ben Ali President of Tunisia2003
40 Flag of Sweden.svg Carl XVI Gustaf King of Sweden
41 Flag of Spain.svg Juan Carlos I King of Spain
42 Flag of Italy.svg Carlo Azeglio Ciampi President of Italy
43 Flag of Estonia.svg Arnold Rüütel President of Estonia
44 Flag of the United States.svg Condoleezza Rice United States Secretary of State
45 Flag of Luxembourg.svg Henri I Grand Duke of Luxembourg2004
46 Flag of the Vatican City (2023-present).svg Angelo Sodano Cardinal Secretary of State
47 Flag of Malta.svg Eddie Fenech Adami President of Malta
48 Flag of San Marino.svg Giuseppe Arzilli Captains Regent of San Marino
49 Flag of San Marino.svg Roberto Raschi Captains Regent of San Marino
50 Flag of Chile.svg Ricardo Lagos President of Chile
51 Flag of Azerbaijan.svg Ilham Aliyev President of Azerbaijan
52 Flag of Jordan.svg Abdullah II King of Jordan2005
53 Flag of Finland.svg Tarja Halonen President of Finland2006
54 Flag of Romania.svg George Emil Palade Professor, Biologist2007
55 Flag of the Vatican City (2023-present).svg Tarcisio Bertone Cardinal Secretary of State2008
56 Flag of the Order of St. John (various).svg Matthew Festing Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta
57 Flag of Poland.svg Lech Kaczyński President of Poland2009
58 Flag of Lebanon.svg Michel Suleiman President of Lebanon
59 Flag of Monaco.svg Albert II Prince of Monaco
60 Flag of Belgium (civil).svg Albert II King of the Belgians
61 Flag of Moldova.svg Mihai Ghimpu President of Moldova2010
62 Flag of Malta.svg George Abela President of Malta
63 Flag of Latvia.svg Valdis Zatlers President of Latvia2011
65 Flag of Estonia.svg Toomas Hendrik Ilves President of Estonia
66 Flag of Italy.svg Giorgio Napolitano President of Italy
67 Flag of the Vatican City (2023-present).svg Pietro Parolin Cardinal Secretary of State2015
68 Flag of Portugal.svg Aníbal Cavaco Silva President of Portugal
69 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Dennis Deletant Professor
70 Flag of Lithuania.svg Dalia Grybauskaitė President of Lithuania
71 Flag of Italy.svg Sergio Mattarella President of Italy2016
72 Flag of Bulgaria.svg Rosen Plevneliev President of Bulgaria
73 Flag of Germany.svg Joachim Gauck [4] President of Germany
74 Flag of Poland.svg Andrzej Duda President of Poland
75 Flag of France.svg François Hollande President of France
76 Flag of Slovakia.svg Andrej Kiska President of Slovakia
77 Flag of Moldova.svg Nicolae Timofti President of Moldova2017
78 Flag of Croatia.svg Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović President of Croatia
79 Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Charles III King of the United Kingdom
80 Flag of France.svg Dominique Prince de La Rochefoucauld-Montbel Grand Hospitaler of Order of Malta (SMOM)
81 Flag of France.svg Frédéric Jenny Professor
82 Flag of Estonia.svg Kersti Kaljulaid President of Estonia2021
81 Flag of Lithuania.svg Gitanas Nausėda President of Lithuania2022

By class

List of recipients by class
1st Class
2nd Class
Grand Crosses
3rd Class
Grand Officers
4th Class
5th Class
6th Class
Unknown Class

See also

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