Order of The Bath

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 mediƦval ceremony for creating 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 often stated) 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 Elizabeth II), the Great Master (currently H.R.H. The Prince of Wales), and three Classes of members:

  • Knight Grand Cross (GCB) or Dame Grand Cross (GCB)
  • Knight Commander (KCB) or Dame Commander (DCB)
  • Companion (CB)

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 not subjects of the Queen and foreigners 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. The last of the aforementioned Orders, which relates to Ireland, still exists but has been in disuse since the formation, in December 1922, of the Irish Free State.

Read more about Order Of The Bath:  Habit and Insignia, Chapel, Precedence and Privileges, Revocation, Current Knights and Dames Grand Cross

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