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The Hanoverian order of St. Georg

From 1814, when Hanover became a kingdom, the British monarch was also King of Hanover. In 1837, however, the personal union of the thrones of the United Kingdom and Hanover ended. Not having access to the highest British Order, the Order of the Garter, Ernst August, king of Hanover, founded on April 23, 1837 the order of St. George as his own house order. Being used to the ways of the prestigious order of the garter the newly founded St. Georg’s order was brought to life with a very similar set of rules. Following a few from the original statues:

    § 3 - the order had only one class and the recipients were called knights

    § 5 - the circle of members was limited to only 16 for Hanoverians besides the princes of the House of Hanover.

    § 6 - the order can only be awarded by the King of Hanover

    § 8 - besides princely kin one had to be at least 30 to be accepted into the order.

St Groeg Order Cross

The St. Georg Cross

The order consisted as a matter of fact of only princely members for all of it's lifespan. From 1837 to 1866 only 78 knights were created. Almost all were head of states with the exception of the Hanoverian minister of state von Alten, the Prussian minister of state prince Sayn-Wittgenstein, the Austrian minister Prince Metternich, Austrian field marshals count von Radetzky and prince Windisch-Grätz as well as the prince von Bentheim. With decree of September 20, 1866, and the lost war, Prussia allowed all recipients of Hanoverian orders to carry on wearing them going forward. Since all recipients were of princely descent it needs to be seen whether anybody was really touched by this gesture. In fact four additional knights were bestowed after the lost war.

Naturally almost none of the awarded decorations were returned after the death of a recipient to the Hanoverian orders chancellery. We know that the British order collection still has examples of this rare order and a handful of other museums.

Being awarded only into the wealthiest and most renowned families few decorations are publicly known. Among the recipients of the order are for example: Zar Alexander II. of Russia (1840), King Maximilian II. of Bavaria (1847), King Frederik VII. of Denmark (1851), King Leopold I. of Belgium (1853), Emperor Napoleon III. of France (1860) and Zar Alexander III. of Russia (1865), to just name a few. The book:"Orden u. Ehrenzeichen des Königreiches Hannover" published in 1981 lists all recipients.

St Georg Order Cross

A 1850th St. Georg Cross (Avers and Revers)


St Georg Order Star av

A 1850th St. Georg Star (Avers)


St. georg Order Star rv

A 1850th St. Georg Star (Revers)


Only three official manufacturers are known. The very first one and best of his class was nobody else but the firm of Johann George Hossauer, who supplied the first 12 sets for 85 "Reichstaler" and 5 "Mariengroschen". He also manufactured the collar chain for the grand master of the order. Carl Zell in Hanover, court jeweler since 1841, offered the set at a discount of roughly 11 "Reichstalern". Carl Büsch, court jeweler since 1863, must have supplied the decorations since 1860.

© A. Schulze Ising, XII/2012

© 2005