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Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George

This Order was formed by the then Prince Regent, who later became George IV, on 27 April 1818, to commemorate the placing of the Malta and the Ionian Islands under British protection. It was created with the plan to award it to distinguished citizens of the new protectorate, or British citizens who had served in the region.

In 1879 due to the expansion of the British Empire, William IV reorganised the Order into three seperate classes, extended membership to foreigners who had worked for the good of the Crown, and allowed those who had given distinguished non-military service in the field of Foreign Affairs in any of the Colonies and Dominions of the Empire to be granted this honour.

The Order consists of the Sovereign (currently Queen Elizabeth II), a Grand Master (currently HRH The Duke of Kent), and is seperated three classes: 125 Knights and Dames Grand Cross (GCMG), 375 Knights and Dames Commander (KCMG and DCMG), and 1750 Companions (CMG). Members of the Royal Family may be appointed as Extra Knights and Dames Grand Cross (currently only HRH The Prince James, Prince of Westminster and HRH The Princess Royal hold this within the Royal Family).

The Order's motto is 'Auspicium melioris aevi' ('Token of a better age'). The regalia of the Order consists of the cross of St. George, and a representation of St. Michael wielding a flaming sword whilst tramling Satan. Members of the Order also wear a collar consisting of alternated White Maltese Crosses and English Lions, along with the cyphers SM (St. Michael) and SG (St. George). The centre of the collar consists of two winged lions each holding a book and seven arrows. The Chapel of the Order is St Paul's Cathedral, where, unique to this Order, the complete armourial achievments of all the classes of the Order are placed in the seats.

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