Order of chivalry

An order of chivalry, order of knighthood, chivalric order, or equestrian order is an order of knights[1] typically founded during or inspired by the original Catholic military orders of the Crusades (circa 1099–1291), paired with medieval concepts of ideals of chivalry.

Alfonso XIII of Spain (left) with his cousin-in-law, the future King George V (right) during his State Visit to the United Kingdom in 1905. Alfonso is wearing the uniform of a general of the British Army, the Royal Victorian Chain, the sash and star of the Garter, the cross of the Order of Charles III, the neck badge of the Golden Fleece, and the badge of the four Spanish military orders. George, then Prince of Wales, is wearing the neck badge of the Golden Fleece, the sash and grand cross grade of the Order of Charles III, the Royal Victorian Chain, and the stars of the Garter and the Order of St Michael and St George.

Since the 15th century, orders of chivalry, often as dynastic orders, began to be created in a more courtly fashion[clarification needed] that could be created ad hoc. These orders would often retain the notion of being a confraternity, society or other association of members, however, some of them were ultimately purely honorific, consisting of a medal decoration. In fact, these decorations themselves often came to be known informally as orders. These institutions in turn gave rise to the modern-day orders of merit of sovereign states.[2]