Order of St Michael and St George
  (Redirected from Companion of the Order of St Michael and St George)
This article is about the British dynastic order of knighthood. For other uses, see Order of Saint Michael (disambiguation) and Order of St. George (disambiguation).
The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George is a British order of chivalry founded on 28 April 1818 by George, Prince Regent, later King George IV,[1][2] while he was acting as regent for his father, King George III.
Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George

Collar and Badge of the Grand Cross
Awarded by

Sovereign of the United Kingdom
TypeOrder of chivalry
Established28 April 1818
MottoAuspicium Melioris Ævi
Token of a Better Age
EligibilityTypically British or Commonwealth realm citizens
Awarded forAt the monarch's pleasure, though typically awarded for extraordinary non-military service in a foreign country and for services to foreign and commonwealth affairs.
StatusCurrently constituted
FounderPrince George, Prince Regent
SovereignQueen Elizabeth II
Grand MasterPrince Edward, Duke of Kent
GradesKnight/Dame Grand Cross (GCMG)
Knight/Dame Commander (KCMG/DCMG)
Companion (CMG)
Next (higher)Order of the Star of India
Next (lower)Order of the Indian Empire

Ribbon bar of the Order of St Michael and St George
Star of a Knight or Dame Commander
It is named in honour of two military saints, St Michael and St George.
The Order of St Michael and St George was originally awarded to those holding commands or high position in the Mediterranean territories acquired in the Napoleonic Wars, and was subsequently extended to holders of similar office or position in other territories of the British Empire.[2] It is at present awarded to men and women who hold high office or who render extraordinary or important non-military service in a foreign country, and can also be conferred for important or loyal service in relation to foreign and Commonwealth affairs.[2]
The Order includes three classes, in descending order of seniority and rank:
St George and the Dragon by Mattia Preti (1678)
Coat of arms of the British monarch as sovereign of the Order of St Michael and St George
It is used to honour individuals who have rendered important services in relation to Commonwealth or foreign nations. People are appointed to the Order rather than awarded it. British Ambassadors to foreign nations are regularly appointed as KCMGs or CMGs. For example, the former British Ambassador to the United States, Sir David Manning, was appointed a CMG when he worked for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), and then after his appointment as British Ambassador to the US, he was promoted to a Knight Commander (KCMG). It is the traditional award for members of the FCO.
The Order's motto is Auspicium melioris ævi (Latin for "Token of a better age"). Its patron saints, as the name suggests, are St. Michael the Archangel, and St. George, patron saint of England. One of its primary symbols is that of St Michael trampling over and subduing Satan in battle.
The Order is the sixth-most senior in the British honours system, after The Most Noble Order of the Garter, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, and The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India. The third of the aforementioned Orders—which relates to Ireland, no longer fully a part of the United Kingdom—still exists but is in disuse; no appointments have been made to it since 1936. The last of the Orders on the list, related to India, has also been in disuse since that country's independence in 1947.
The Order's insignia often depict St Michael subduing Satan
Heraldic collar of the Order of St Michael and St George
The Prince Regent founded the Order to commemorate the British amical protectorate over the Ionian Islands, which had come under British control in 1814 and had been granted their own constitution as the United States of the Ionian Islands in 1817. It was intended to reward "natives of the Ionian Islands and of the island of Malta and its dependencies, and for such other subjects of His Majesty as may hold high and confidential situations in the Mediterranean".[3]
In 1864, however, the protectorate ended and the Ionian Islands became part of Greece. A revision of the basis of the Order in 1868, saw membership granted to those who "hold high and confidential offices within Her Majesty's colonial possessions, and in reward for services rendered to the Crown in relation to the foreign affairs of the Empire". Accordingly, numerous Governors-General and Governors feature as recipients of awards in the order.
In 1965 the order was opened to women,[4] with Evelyn Bark becoming the first female CMG in 1967.[5]
The British Sovereign is the Sovereign of the Order and appoints all other members of the Order (by convention, on the advice of the Government). The next-most senior member is the Grand Master. The office was formerly filled by the Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands; now, however, Grand Masters are chosen by the Sovereign. Grand Masters include:
The Order originally included 15 Knights Grand Cross, 20 Knights Commanders, and 25 Companions but has since been expanded and the current limits on membership are 125, 375, and 1,750 respectively. Members of the Royal Family who are appointed to the Order do not count towards the limit, nor do foreign members appointed as "honorary members".
The Order has six officers. The Order's King of Arms is not a member of the College of Arms, like many other heraldic officers. The Usher of the Order is known as the Gentleman or Lady Usher of the Blue Rod. Blue Rod does not, unlike the usher of the Order of the Garter, perform any duties related to the House of Lords.
Habit and insignia
Mantle of the Order.
Representation of the star of a Knight or Dame Grand Cross
Star and badge of a Knight or Dame Commander
Collar worn by a Knight or Dame Grand Cross
Members of the Order wear elaborate regalia on important occasions (such as coronations), which vary by rank:
At less important occasions, simpler insignia are used:
On certain "collar days" designated by the Sovereign, members attending formal events may wear the Order's collar over their military uniform or morning wear. When collars are worn (either on collar days or on formal occasions such as coronations), the badge is suspended from the collar. All collars which have been awarded since 1948 must be returned to the Central Chancery of the Orders of Knighthood. The other insignia may be retained.
The chapel of the Order of St Michael and St George in St Paul's Cathedral, London.
The original home of the Order was the Palace of St. Michael and St. George in Corfu, the residence of the Lord High Commissioner of the Ionian Islands and the seat of the Ionian Senate. Since 1906, the Order's chapel has been in St Paul's Cathedral in London. (The cathedral also serves as home to the chapels of The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor.) Religious services for the whole Order are held quadrennially; new Knights and Dames Grand Cross are installed at these services.
The Sovereign and the Knights and Dames Grand Cross are allotted stalls in the choir of the chapel, above which their heraldic devices are displayed. Perched on the pinnacle of a knight's stall is his helm, decorated with a mantling and topped by his crest. Under English heraldic law, women other than monarchs do not bear helms or crests; instead, the coronet appropriate to the dame's rank, if there is one, is used. Above the crest or coronet, the stall's occupant's heraldic banner is hung, emblazoned with his or her coat of arms. At a considerably smaller scale, to the back of the stall is affixed a piece of brass (a "stall plate") displaying its occupant's name, arms and date of admission into the Order. Upon the death of a Knight, the banner, helm, mantling and crest are taken down. The stall plates, however, are not removed; rather, they remain permanently affixed somewhere about the stall, so that the stalls of the chapel are festooned with a colourful record of the Order's Knights and Dames Grand Cross since 1906.
The reredos within the chapel was commissioned from Henry Poole in 1927.[11]
Precedence and privileges
The Duke of Kent, Grand Master of the Order, and the Duchess of Kent
German shipping magnate Rickmer Clasen Rickmers (1807–1886) wearing the insignia of a C.M.G. (centre)
Members of the Order of St Michael are assigned positions in the order of precedence in England and Wales. Wives of male members also feature on the order of precedence, as do sons, daughters and daughters-in-law of Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commanders; relatives of female members, however, are not assigned any special precedence. (As a general rule, individuals can derive precedence from their fathers or husbands, but not from their mothers or wives.)
Knights Grand Cross and Knights Commanders prefix "Sir", and Dames Grand Cross and Dames Commanders prefix "Dame", to their forenames. Wives of Knights may prefix "Lady" to their surnames, but no equivalent privilege exists for husbands of Dames. Such forms are not used by peers and princes, except when the names of the former are written out in their fullest forms. Furthermore, honorary (foreign) members and clergymen do not receive the accolade and thus are not entitled to use the prefix "Sir" or "Dame". Knights and Dames Grand Cross use the post-nominal "GCMG"; Knights Commanders and Dames Commanders use "KCMG" and "DCMG" respectively; Companions use "CMG".
Knights and Dames Grand Cross are also entitled to receive heraldic supporters. They may, furthermore, encircle their arms with a depiction of the circlet (a circle bearing the motto) and the collar; the former is shown either outside or on top of the latter. Knights and Dames Commanders and Companions may display the circlet, but not the collar, surrounding their arms. The badge is depicted suspended from the collar or circlet.
Popular references
Riband (worn incorrectly), star and collar of GCMG worn by Lord Grenfell
In the satirical British television programme Yes Minister, Jim Hacker MP is told an old joke[12] by his Private Secretary Bernard Woolley about what the various post-nominals stand for. From Season 2, Episode 2 "Doing the Honours":
Woolley: In the [civil] service, CMG stands for "Call Me God". And KCMG for "Kindly Call Me God".
Hacker: What does GCMG stand for?
Woolley (deadpan): "God Calls Me God".
Both sexes use the same post-nominal initials, except that there is a distinctly female form of Knight Commander of St Michael and St George. This is Dame Commander of St. Michael and St George (DCMG).
Ian Fleming's spy, James Bond, a commander in the Royal Navy Volunteer Reserve (RNVR) was fictionally decorated with the CMG in 1953. (This is mentioned in the novels From Russia, with Love and On Her Majesty's Secret Service, and on-screen in his obituary in Skyfall.) He was offered the KCMG (which would have elevated him from Companion to Knight Commander in the Order) in The Man with the Golden Gun, but he rejected the offer as he did not wish to become a public figure. Dame Judi Dench's character "M" is "offered" early retirement and a GCMG in Skyfall after a series of events resulting in the loss of a list that named every NATO espionage operative.
Long-time Doctor Who companion Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart wore the ribbon of the order as the highest of his decorations in the series' classic era.
Current Knights and Dames Grand Cross
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See also: List of Knights and Dames Grand Cross of the Order of St Michael and St George
Riband, badge and star of a GCMG worn by Lord Tweedsmuir
(NOTE: For clarity, the table denotes holders of the GCMG only; all other posts-nominal shown, for respective members, are for the sake of completeness alone.)
Knights and Dames Grand Cross
NumberNamePost-nominalsKnown forYear
Sayyid Sir Jamshid bin Abdullah of Zanzibar
GCMGSultan of Zanzibar1963
2The Duke of KentKG GCMGGCVORoyal family1967
3Sir Antony AclandKG GCMGGCVOBritish diplomat1986
4Sir Crispin TickellGCMGKCVOBritish diplomat1989
5Sir Shridath RamphalGCMG ACONZ OEOM OCCQCCommonwealth Secretary-General1990
6Dame Catherine TizardGCMGGCVODBE QSOONZGovernor-General of New Zealand1990
7The Lord Wilson of TillyornKT GCMGGovernor of Hong Kong1991
Sir Wiwa Korowi
GCMGGovernor-General of Papua New Guinea1992
Sir James Carlisle
GCMGGovernor-General of Antigua and Barbuda1993
10Sir Rodric BraithwaiteGCMGBritish diplomat1994
Sir Julius Chan
GCLGCMGKBEPrime Minister of Papua New Guinea1994
12Sir Colville YoungGCMGMBEGovernor-General of Belize1994
13The Lord Hannay of ChiswickGCMG CHBritish diplomat1995
14Sir Orville TurnquestGCMG QCGovernor-General of the Bahamas1995
15Sir Michael Hardie BoysGNZMGCMGQSOGovernor-General of New Zealand1996
16Sir Christopher MallabyGCMGGCVOBritish diplomat1996
17Sir Tulaga ManuellaGCMGGovernor-General of Tuvalu1996
18Sir Daniel WilliamsGCMGGovernor-General of Grenada1996
19Sir John ColesGCMGBritish diplomat1997
Sir Silas Atopare
GCLGCMGGovernor-General of Papua New Guinea1998
21Sir John LapliGCMGGovernor-General of the Solomon Islands1999
22Dame Pearlette LouisyGCMGGovernor-General of Saint Lucia1999
23Sir Andrew WoodGCMGBritish diplomat2001
24Sir John GouldenGCMGBritish diplomat2001
25The Lord Kerr of KinlochardGCMGBritish diplomat2001
26Sir Tomasi PuapuaGCMGKBE PCGovernor-General of Tuvalu2002
27Sir David WrightGCMGLVOBritish diplomat2002
28Sir Jeremy GreenstockGCMGBritish diplomat2003
29Sir Rob YoungGCMGBritish diplomat2003
30The Lord Robertson of Port EllenKT GCMGPCSecretary General of NATO2004
31Sir Stephen WallGCMGLVOBritish diplomat2004
Sir Paulias Matane
GCLGCMGOBEGovernor-General of Papua New Guinea2005
33Sir Nathaniel WaenaGCMG CSIKStJGovernor-General of Solomon Islands2005
34The Lord Jay of EwelmeGCMGBritish diplomat2006
35Sir Emyr Jones ParryGCMGBritish diplomat2007
36Sir Kenneth O. HallGCMG OJGovernor-General of Jamaica2007
Dame Louise Lake-Tack
GCMGGovernor-General of Antigua and Barbuda2007
38Sir David ManningGCMGKCVOBritish diplomat2008
39Sir Carlyle GleanGCMGGovernor-General of Grenada2008
40Sir Patrick AllenON GCMGCDGovernor-General of Jamaica2009
41Sir Frank KabuiGCMGOBE CSIGovernor-General of Solomon Islands2009
42Sir Arthur FoulkesGCMGGovernor-General of the Bahamas2010
43Sir Iakoba ItaleliGCMGGovernor-General of Tuvalu2010
44The Lord RickettsGCMGGCVOBritish diplomat2011
45Sir Nigel SheinwaldGCMGBritish diplomat2011
Sir Elliott Belgrave
GCMG QCGovernor-General of Barbados2012
47Dame Cécile La GrenadeGCMGOBEGovernor-General of Grenada2013
Sir Edmund Lawrence
GCMGOBEGovernor-General of Saint Kitts and Nevis2013
49Dame Marguerite PindlingGCMGGovernor-General of the Bahamas2014
Sir Rodney Williams
GCMGGovernor-General of Antigua and Barbuda2014
51The Baroness Ashton of UphollandGCMG PCBritish diplomat2015
52Sir John SawersGCMGBritish diplomat2015
Sir Tapley Seaton
GCMGCVO QCJPGovernor-General of Saint Kitts and Nevis2015
54Sir Simon FraserGCMGBritish diplomat2016
55Sir Peter WestmacottGCMGLVOBritish diplomat2016
Sir Robert Dadae
GCMGGovernor-General of Papua New Guinea2017
Dame Sandra Mason
GCMG DAQCGovernor-General of Barbados2017
58Sir Mark Lyall GrantGCMGBritish diplomat & National Security Adviser2018
59Sir Neville CenacGCMGGovernor-General of Saint Lucia2018
60Sir Cornelius A. SmithGCMGGovernor-General of the Bahamas2019
61Sir David VunagiGCMGGovernor-General of Solomon Islands2019
Dame Susan Dougan
GCMGOBEGovernor-General of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines2020
63Sir David AttenboroughOM GCMGCH CVOCBETelevision broadcaster and conservationist2020
64Sir Tim BarrowGCMGLVO MBEBritish diplomat2020
65Sir Julian KingGCMGKCVOBritish diplomat2020
Honorary Knights/Dame Grand Cross (GCMG)
Star and collar of honorary GCMG worn by Serbian Field MarshalŽivojin Mišić
NamePost-NominalsKnown forYear
Vigdís Finnbogadóttir
GCBGCMGFormer President of Iceland1982
Sultan Hassanal Bolkiah of BruneiGCBGCMGSultan of Brunei1984
Abdelaziz bin Khalifa Al ThaniGCMGMember of the royal family of Qatar1985
Gyanendra of Nepal
GCMGFormer King of Nepal1986
Fidel V. RamosGCMGFormer President of the Philippines1995
Aleksander KwaśniewskiGCBGCMGFormer President of Poland1996
Maumoon Abdul Gayoom
GCMGFormer President of the Maldives1997[13]
Nawaz Sharif
GCMGFormer Prime Minister of Pakistan1997
Hamad bin Khalifa Al ThaniGCBGCMGFormer Emir of Qatar1997
Ernesto ZedilloGCMGFormer President of Mexico1998
Alberto Fujimori
GCMGFormer President of Peru1998
János MartonyiGCMGFormer Minister of Foreign Affairs1999
Abdullah II of JordanGCBGCMGKCVOKing of Jordan1999
Friis Arne Petersen
GCMGFormer Director of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark2000
Giuliano Amato
GCMGFormer Prime Minister of Italy2000
Lamberto Dini
GCMGFormer Prime Minister of Italy2000
Umberto Vattani
GCMGFormer Secretary General of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs2000
Emil Constantinescu
GCMGFormer President of Romania2000
Thabo Mbeki
GCBGCMGFormer President of South Africa2000
Nursultan NazarbayevGCMGFormer President of Kazakhstan2000
Ali Abu al-RaghebGCMGFormer Prime Minister of Jordan2001
Jorge Sampaio
GCMGFormer President of Portugal2001
Stjepan MesićGCMGFormer President of Croatia2001[14]
Anson Chan
GBMGCMGCBE JPFormer Chief Secretary of Hong Kong2002[15]
Vicente FoxGCMGFormer President of Mexico2002[13]
Xanana GusmãoGCMG, GCL, CNZMFormer Prime Minister of East Timor2003
Hamid Karzai
GCMGFormer President of Afghanistan2003
Alfred Moisiu
GCMGFormer President of Albania2003
Włodzimierz CimoszewiczGCMGFormer Prime Minister of Poland2004
Gianfranco Fini
GCMGFormer Deputy Prime Minister of Italy2005
Mohammed bin Rashid Al MaktoumGCMGPrime Minister of the United Arab Emirates2010[16]
Mohammed bin Zayed Al NahyanGCMGCrown Prince of Abu Dhabi2010[17]
Sabah Al Khalid Al SabahGCMGDeputy Prime Minister of Kuwait2012[18]
Manuel Valls
GCMGFormer Prime Minister of France2014[19]
Marie Louise Coleiro Preca
GCMGFormer President of Malta2015[20]
Honorary Knights/Dames Commander (KCMG/DCMG)
Knight Commander star of the Order of Saint Michael and Saint George
NamePost-NominalsKnown forYear
Hamad bin Isa Al KhalifaKCMGKing of Bahrain1979
Henry KissingerKCMGFormer United States Secretary of State1995
Frederico Cezar de Araujo
KCMGBrazilian diplomat1997
Gelson Fonseca
KCMGBrazilian diplomat1997
Affonso Emilio de Alencastro Massot
KCMGBrazilian diplomat1997
Takekazu Kawamura
KCMGJapanese diplomat1998
Henrik SchmiegelowKCMGGerman diplomat1998
Carl BildtKCMGFormer Prime Minister of Sweden & High Representative for Bosnia1998[21]
József SzájerKCMGFormer Chairman of the European Integration Select Committee1999
Jan Marcussen
KCMGDanish diplomat2000
Carmela Decaro Bonella
DCMGFormer Deputy Director General and Director of the President of Italy's Office2000
Luigo Guidobono Cavalchini
KCMGFormer Private Secretary to the Foreign Minister of Italy2000
Francesco Olivieri
KCMGFormer Diplomatic Adviser to the Prime Minister of Italy2000
Javier Solana
KCMGFormer Secretary General of NATO2000
Richard ArmitageKCMG, CNZM, ACFormer United States Deputy Secretary of State2005
Jaap de Hoop Scheffer
KCMGFormer Secretary General of NATO2010[22]
Sadako Ogata
DCMGJapanese academic and diplomat2011
Efthymios Mitropoulos
KCMGFormer Secretary-General of International Maritime Organization2011
Marzuki Alie
KCMGFormer Speaker of the Indonesian House of Representatives2012
Irman Gusman
KCMGFormer Speaker of the Indonesian House of Regional Representatives2012
Marty Natalegawa
KCMGFormer Minister of Foreign Affairs of Indonesia2012
Sudi Silalahi
KCMGFormer Secretary of State of Indonesia2012
Abdullah bin Zayed Al NahyanKCMGMinister of Foreign Affairs of the UAE2013
Yun Byung-se
KCMGFormer Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Korea2013
Peter CaruanaKCMGFormer Chief Minister of Gibraltar2013
Jacques Rogge
KCMGFormer President of the International Olympic Committee2014
Angelina JolieDCMGAmerican actress, filmmaker, and humanitarian2014[23]
Laurent Fabius
KCMGFormer Minister of Foreign Affairs of France2014
Laurent Stefanini
KCMGFormer Ambassador, Chief of Protocol to President Hollande2014
Grace Fu
DCMGFormer Minister for Foreign Affairs of Singapore2014
Anders Fogh Rasmussen
KCMGFormer Prime Minister of Denmark & Secretary General of NATO2015[24]
José Antonio Meade KuribreñaKCMGFormer Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico2015[24]
Joseph Muscat
KCMGFormer Prime Minister of Malta2015[24]
Peter Piot
KCMGBelgian microbiologist2016[25]
George Vella
KCMGFormer Minister of Foreign Affairs of Malta now President of Malta2018
Zeid Raad Al HusseinKCMGFormer United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights2019
See also
  1. ^ a b c d Duckers, Peter (2009) [2004]. British Orders and Decorations. Oxford: Shire Publications. pp. 26–27. ISBN 978-0-7478-0580-9. OCLC 55587484.
  2. ^ a b c d e f The Royal Household (2009). "Order of St. Michael and St. George". The Official Website of the British Monarchy. London: Crown Copyright. Archived from the original on 27 February 2009. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  3. ^ Townsend, Francis (1828). Calendar of Knights. William Pickering. p. 206.
  4. ^ "Knights/Knighthoods genealogy project". geni_family_tree. Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  5. ^ Evelyn Bark, article in The Independent
  6. ^ Desmond Allen. "GG rejects racist emblem". Jamaica Observer. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  7. ^ Joseph Netto; Leah Asmelash. "Jamaica's governor-general suspends personal use of royal insignia over 'offending image'". CNN. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  8. ^ Kate Chappel. "Jamaica suspends use of British royal insignia after anti-racism protests". Reuters. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  9. ^ Joseph Netto; Leah Asmelash. "Jamaica's governor-general suspends personal use of royal insignia over 'offending image'". CNN. Retrieved 28 June 2020.
  10. ^ Tom Ball. "Michael Palin calls for redesign of 'offensive' knighthood medal". The Times. Retrieved 16 March 2021.
  11. ^ Henry POOLE 1873–1928 (Tate Britain); retrieved 1 October 2009.
  12. ^ Cross, Colin (1968). The Fall of the British Empire. London: Book Club Associates.
  13. ^ a b [1]
  14. ^ "The Court Circular - December 2001". The Royal Household. December 2001. Retrieved 12 April 2021.
  15. ^ "H.K.'s ex-No. 2 leader Anson Chan honored by Queen Elizabeth". Findarticles. 11 November 2002. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  16. ^ Alice Johnson Khalifa, Queen Elizabeth II exchange orders. Gulf News. 26 November 2010 Retrieved 5 September 2013.
  17. ^ List of honorary British knights and dames
  18. ^ Honorary awards – 2012
  19. ^ "Honorary awards – 2014" (PDF). Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  20. ^ "Honorary awards – 2015" (PDF). Retrieved 30 June 2017.
  21. ^ [2] Archived 1 October 2012 at the Wayback Machine
  22. ^ "Hoge Britse ridderorde voor De Hoop Scheffer" (in Dutch).
  23. ^ "Honorary British Awards to Foreign Nationals – 2014". Archived from the original on 16 October 2014.
  24. ^ a b c "Honorary British Awards to Foreign Nationals – 2015" (PDF).
  25. ^ "Honorary awards" (PDF).
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