The Knight Grand Cross
of the Order of St Michael and St George of Great Britain.
Awarded to Dutch Prime Minister Willem Drees
The order was founded on the 27th of April 1818, by letters patent
under the Great Seal of the United Kingdom, and a code of statutes
was promulgated on the 12th August following; but, by its third
sovereign, William IV, the constitution of St Michael and St George
was so materially changed, and its importance so much enhanced that
William may almost be considered its second founder. The new statutes,
framed by that monarch, ordain that the monarch of the United Kingdom
shall for ever be sovereign of the order, that a prince of the blood
royal being a descendant of the body of the Princess Sophia, Electress
of Hanover, shall be Grand Master, and that there shall be three
classes of Knights, first Knights Grand Cross, second Knights Commanders
and third Cavalieri or Companions: the first class to be restricted
to fifteen, the second, to twenty, and the third, to twenty-five.
The star of a Knight Grand Cross is composed of seven rays of silver,
having a small ray of gold between each of them, and over all the
cross of St George, gules. In the centre is a representation of
the Archangel St Michael
encountering Satan, within a blue circle, inscribed with the motto
'Auspicium Melioris Aevi'.
The badge is a gold cross of fourteen joints of white enamel, edged
with gold, having in the centre, on one side,
the Archangel St Michael encountering Satan, and on the other, St
George on horseback, encountering a dragon within a blue circle,
on which the motto of the order is inscribed. The cross is surmounted
by the imperial crown, and is worn by the Knights Grand Cross to
the collar, or to a wide Saxon-blue ribbon, with a scarlet stripe
from the right shoulder to the left side.