Character and Recognition of the Orders

Légion d’honneur

The ancient imperial Orders were approved to wear in France by the Légion d’honneur (Chambers Journal XI, jan-jun-1859 Order Saint Faustin). The Legion of Honour is a national order of France. The President of the French Republic is its Grand Master.

Dynastic Nature

The current Imperial Orders are not to be confused with European orders of knighthood or knightly orders. The imperial Orders are of a dynastic nature, as described by the International Commission for Orders of Chivalry:

The Dynastic (or Family or House) Orders which belong jure sanguinis to a Sovereign House (that is to those ruling or ex-ruling Houses whose sovereign rank was internationally recognised at the time of the Congress of Vienna in 1814 or later) retain their full historical chivalric, nobiliary and social validity, notwithstanding all political changes. It is therefore considered ultra vires of any republican State to interfere, by legislation or administrative practice, with the Princely Dynastic Family or House Orders. That they may not be officially recognised by the new government does not affect their traditional validity or their accepted status in international heraldic, chivalric and nobiliary circles.

The recognition of Orders by States or supranational organisations which themselves do not have chivalric orders of their own, and in whose Constitutions no provisions are made for the recognition of knightly and nobiliary institutions, cannot be accepted as constituting validation by sovereignties, since these particular sovereignties have renounced the exercise of heraldic jurisdiction. The international “status” of an Order of Knighthood rests, in fact, on the rights of fons honorum, which, according to tradition, must belong to the Authority by which this particular Order is granted, protected or recognised.