Josef Graf Radetzky wearing the Grand Cross sash and star of the Military Order of Maria Theresa

Grand Cross is the highest class in many orders, and manifested in its insignia.[1] Exceptionally, the highest class may be referred to as Grand Cordon or equivalent. In other cases, there may exist a rank even higher than Grand Cross, e.g. Grand Collar. In rare cases, the insignia itself is referred to as the "grand cross".[2]

In international relations, many times the class of Grand Cross is typically reserved for royalty, heads of state and equivalent. Sometimes a holder of the highest class or grade are referred to as "Commander Grand Cross",[A 1] "Knight Grand Cross", or just "Grand Cross".

In the United Kingdom, the rank of "Knight Grand Cross" or "Dame Grand Cross" allows the recipient to continue to use the honorific "Sir" (male) or "Dame" (female) as a style before his or her name. The knighthood is initially conferred, as in other countries, at the lower rank of the order, typically "Knight Commander".

In Bavaria, the royal military order established by Maximilian Joseph consisted of three classes with the Grand Crosses ranking above the Commanders and Knights.[4] The Grand Cross title has also been used to confer military merit. For instance, the Grand Duchy of Baden awarded Prince Rupprecht a Grand Cross after World War I.[5]

From 1870 to 1918, the German Empire also set the Grand Cross as the highest rank of the Order of the Iron Cross, followed by the first and second classes.

Denomination "Grand Cordons"

This list is incomplete; you can help by adding missing items. (May 2012)

The orders in which the highest rank (or second after "Collar") is named "Grand Cordons" include the following orders:



Illustration of typical insignia, as in the case of the Legion of Honour of France.

See also

Explanatory notes

  1. ^ The designation (Swedish: Kommendör med stora korset) is used in the Swedish Orders of the Sword, Polar Star and Vasa and in the Finnish Orders of the White Rose and Lion.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e Also awarded in the Commonwealth Realms.


  1. ^ Hieronymussen, Poul Ohm; Lundø, Jørgen, eds. (1968). Eurooppalaiset kunniamerkit värikuvina [Europæiske ordner i farver] (in Finnish). Translated by Karnila, Christer. Porvoo: WSOY. pp. 14–15. OCLC 466954328.
  2. ^ Burke, B. The Book of Orders of Knighthood and Decorations of Honour of All Nations. Uckfield: Naval & Military Press, 2016. ISBN 978-1-783-31282-5
  3. ^ "Statuter för finlands vita ros ́orden" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 3 March 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
  4. ^ Carlisle, Nicholas (2012). A Concise Account of the Several Foreign Orders of Knighthood: and Other Marks of Honourable Distinction. Dallington, East Sussex: The Naval and Military Press. p. 67. ISBN 9781781514290.
  5. ^ Zabecki, David (2014). Germany at War: 400 Years of Military History [4 volumes]: 400 Years of Military History. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO. p. 1629. ISBN 9781598849806.