Foreign Orders, Decorations and Medals
Regulations as to Wearing Applicable to Servants of the Crown.
(July 1935)


1. No person in the service of the Crown shall accept or wear the insignia of any Foreign Order without having previously obtained His Majesty's permission to do so, signified either:

  1. By warrant under the Royal Sign-Manual or
  2. By restricted permission conveyed through the Keeper of His Majesty's Privy Purse.

2. When permission is given by warrant under the Royal Sign-Manual, the insignia of the Foreign Order may be worn at all times and without any restriction.

When restricted permission is given, the insignia may only be worn on the occasion specified in the terms of the letter from the Keeper of His Majesty's Privy Purse conveying the Royal sanction.

3. Full and unrestricted permission by warrant under the Royal Sign-Manual is contemplated in the following cases

For a decoration conferred :

  1. For distinguished services in the saving of life.
  2. On an officer in His Majesty's Naval, Military or Air Forces lent to a Foreign Government; on an officer in His Majesty's Naval, Military or Air Forces attached by His Majesty's Government to a foreign Navy, Army or Air Force during hostilities ; or on any British official lent to a Foreign Government and not in receipt of any emoluments from British public funds during the period of such loan.

4. Restricted permission is particularly contemplated for decorations which have been conferred in recognition of personal attention to a foreign Sovereign, the head of a Foreign State, or a member of a foreign Royal Family on the occasion of State or official visits by such personages.

5. Restricted permission will also be given for decorations conferred in the following cases:

  1. On British Ambassadors or Ministers abroad when the King pays a State visit to the country to which they are accredited ;
  2. (Note.-A State visit is defined as one on which the King is accompanied by a Minister or High Official in attendance.)

  3. On members of deputations of British regiments to Foreign Heads of States;
  4. On members of special missions when the King is represented at a Foreign Coronation, wedding, funeral, or similar occasion; or on any Diplomatic Representative when specially accredited to represent His Majesty on such occasions (but not on the members of his staff).

Restricted permission will not be given to :

  1. British Ambassadors or Ministers abroad when leaving ;
  2. British officers attending foreign manoeuvres ;
  3. Naval officers of British squadrons visiting Foreign Waters.

6. Both in the case of full and of restricted permission the matter will be submitted to the King by His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs, who shall be under no obligation to consider applications for permission unless the desire of the Head of a Foreign State to confer upon a British subject the Insignia of an Order is notified to him before the Order is conferred, either through the British Diplomatic Representative accredited to the head of the Foreign State, or through the Diplomatic Representative of the latter at the Court of St. James.

In no case can application be considered in respect of decorations conferred more than five years previously or offered in connection with services or events so long prior to the nomination.

7. When His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs shall have taken the King's pleasure on any such application, and shall have obtained His Majesty's permission for the person in whose favour it has been made to wear the Insignia Of a Foreign Order, he shall signify the same to His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department, in order that he may cause a Warrant, if it be a case for the issue of a warrant as defined in Rule 2, to be prepared for the Royal Sign-Manual.

When such Warrant shall have been signed by the King, a notification thereof shall be Inserted in the "Gazette."

Persons in whose favour such Warrants are issued will be required to pay to His Majesty's Principal Secretary of State for the Home Department a stamp duty of 10s.

8. The Warrant, signifying His Majesty's permission may, at the request and at the expense of the person who has obtained it., be registered in the College of Arms. Every such Warrant as aforesaid shall contain a clause providing that His Majesty's licence and permission does not authorise the assumption of any style, appellation. rank, precedence, or privilege appertaining to a Knight Bachelor of his Majesty's Realms.


9. Medals, with the exceptions specified below, and State decorations not carrying membership of an Order of Chivalry, are subject to the Regulations in the same manner as Orders, but permission is given by letter and not by Royal Warrant.

10. Medals for saving: or attempting to save life at sea or on land, whether conferred on behalf of the Head or Government or a Foreign State or by private Live Saving Societies or Institutions, may be accepted and worn without restriction.

Subject, however, in the case of members of His Majesty's Naval, Military or Air Forces, to any restrictions imposed by the King's Regulations for those Services as to the wearing of such medals with uniform.

Applications for His Majesty's permission to wear other Medals conferred by Private Societies or Institutions and Commemorative Medals cannot be entertained.

11. The King's unrestricted permission to accept and wear a Foreign War Medal will only he given to (1) Members of His Majesty's Naval, Military or Air Forces if serving with a foreign Army, Navy or Air Force with His Majesty's, licence, and (2) Military, Naval or Air Attaches or Officers and other ranks and ratings officially attached to Foreign Armies, Navies or Air Forces during hostilities.


12. Ladies are. subject to the Regulations in all respects in the same manner as men.

^ back to top ^