The Royal Family Order of Elizabeth II is an honour that is bestowed on female members of the British Royal Family, and it is worn on formal occasions. The formal practice of family orders was begun by King George IV, though members of the courts sometimes wore the sovereign’s portrait in a bejewelled frame before that time.
The subsequent monarchs presented the family orders suspended on different coloured ribbons. King George IV and King George V used white, King George VI used pink, and the current Queen uses yellow.1 Queen Victoria created her own order, The Royal Order of Victoria and Albert, which was given to female members of the family and to ladies favoured by Queen Victoria. King Edward VII did something similar to his mother, but it wasn’t registered that way. His ribbon was blue with white and red edges.
More than one family order can be worn at the same time, and Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother has been seen wearing both the one from King George VI’s reign as well as her daughter’s reign. The Queen and Princess Margaret wore the orders of King George V and King George VI to their parents’ coronation in 1937.
The Royal Family Order of Elizabeth II was created at the beginning of her reign with a Dorothy Wilding portrait as the image of the sovereign. The image is painted on ivory, though this was replaced with a glass version in 2017. The image is surrounded by diamonds and topped by a Tudor crown. The yellow silk ribbon is formed into a bow, and the order is worn pinned to the dress on the left shoulder.
It was first given to Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother, Queen Mary, Princess Margaret, Mary, Princess Royal, Princess Alice, Duchess of Gloucester, Princess Marina, Duchess of Kent, Princess Alexandra of Kent and Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone. It was later also given to Princess Anne, the Duchess of Glouchester and Diana, Princess of Wales.
The latest recipients are the Countess of Wessex (2004), The Duchess of Cornwall (2007) and The Duchess of Cambridge (2017).2
- Royal Family Orders
- Read more: Royal Order by Hugo Vickers p.145-147