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Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Bath

Most Honourable Order of the Bath
Order of the Bath-Badge Template.JPG
Awarded by
Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (Order of the Bath).svg
Sovereign of the United Kingdom
Motto TRIA IUNCTA IN UNO
and ICH DIEN (Military Division)
Awarded for Service, at the monarch's pleasure
Status Currently constituted
Sovereign Elizabeth II
Grades Knight/Dame Grand Cross (GCB)
Knight/Dame Commander (KCB/DCB)
Companion (CB)
Former grades Knight Companion (KB)
Statistics
Established 18 May 1725
Precedence
Next (higher) Order of St Patrick
Next (lower) Order of the Star of India
Order of the Bath ribbon bar
Ribbon bar of the Order of the Bath

The Most Honourable Order of the Bath (formerly the Most Honourable Military 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 a symbol of purification) 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 (as is commonly believed) 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 Order consists of the Sovereign (currently Queen Elizabeth II), the Great Master (currently The Prince of Wales), and three Classes of members:

Members belong to either the Civil or the Military Division. Prior to 1815, the order had only a single class, Knight Companion (KB), which no longer exists. Recipients of the Order are now usually senior military officers or senior civil servants. Commonwealth citizens who are not subjects of the Queen and foreign nationals may be made Honorary Members.

The Order of the Bath is the fourth-most senior of the British Orders of Chivalry, after The Most Noble Order of the Garter, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, and The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick (dormant).

In the Middle Ages, knighthood was often conferred with elaborate ceremonies. These usually involved the knight-to-be taking a bath (possibly symbolic of spiritual purification) during which he was instructed in the duties of knighthood by more senior knights. He was then put to bed to dry. Clothed in a special robe, he was led with music to the chapel where he spent the night in a vigil. At dawn he made confession and attended Mass, then retired to his bed to sleep until it was fully daylight. He was then brought before the King, who after instructing two senior knights to buckle the spurs to the knight-elect's heels, fastened a belt around his waist, then struck him on the neck (with either a hand or a sword), thus making him a knight. It was this accolade which was the essential act in creating a knight, and a simpler ceremony developed, conferring knighthood merely by striking or touching the knight-to-be on the shoulder with a sword, or "dubbing" him, as is still done today. In the early medieval period the difference seems to have been that the full ceremonies were used for men from more prominent families.


Members
Knights and Dames Grand Cross
Honorary Knights and Dames Grand Cross
  • Knight Grand Cross (GCB) or Dame Grand Cross (GCB)
  • Knight Commander (KCB) or Dame Commander (DCB)
  • Companion (CB)
  • Members of the House of Commons: 14
  • The Royal Household or sinecures: 11
  • Diplomats: 4
  • The Walpole family, including the Prime Minister: 3
  • Naval and Army Officers: 3
  • Irish Peers: 2
  • Country gentlemen with Court Appointments: 2
  • 120 Knights or Dames Grand Cross (GCB) (of whom the Great Master is the First and Principal)
  • 355 Knights Commander (KCB) or Dames Commander (DCB)
  • 1,925 Companions (CB)
  • Anstis, John (1752). Observations introductory to an historical essay, upon the Knighthood of the Bath. London: James Woodman. 
  • Galloway, Peter (2006). The Order of the Bath. Phillimore. ISBN . 
  • Nicolas, Nicholas H. (1842). History of the orders of knighthood of the British empire, Vol iii. London. 
  • Perkins, Jocelyn (1920). The Most Honourable Order of the Bath : a descriptive and historical account (2nd ed.). London: Faith Press. 
  • Risk, James C. (1972). The History of the Order of the Bath and its Insignia. London: Spink & Son. 
  • Statutes of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. London. 1725. 
  • Statutes of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. London. 1812. 
  • Statutes of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. London. 1847. 
  • Statutes of the Most Honourable Order of the Bath. London. 1925. 
  • "Royal Insight > May 2006 > Focus: The Order of the Bath". Archived from the original on 29 September 2006. 
  • "Order of the Bath". Official website of the British monarchy. Archived from the original on 2 January 2012. 
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Wikipedia

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