Investiture (from the Latin preposition in and verb vestire, "dress" from vestis "robe") is a formal installation or ceremony that a person undergoes, often related to membership in Christian religious institutes as well as Christian knighthoods or damehoods, in addition to government offices.

In an investiture, a person may receive an outward sign of their membership, such as their religious habit, an ecclesiastical decoration (as with chivalric orders) or a scapular (as with confraternities);[1][2] they may be given the authority and regalia of a high office. Investiture can include formal dress and adornment such as robes of state or headdress, or other regalia such as a throne or seat of office. An investiture is also often part of a coronation rite or enthronement.


Religious institutes

Investiture indicates in religious orders the usually ceremonial handing over of the religious habit to a new novice. The investiture usually takes place upon admission to the novitiate (rarely only upon profession). The investiture which takes place either as part of a liturgical celebration in the choir of the church or in the community's chapter house.

In some places, a slightly shorter or even a white habit is lent to dress up, which is then exchanged for one in the way that the other professed people wear at the first profession. In some religious orders for women, the white veil of the novice is exchanged for a black veil when taking temporary vows (simple profession), while others only give the black veil for solemn profession.


Joining a confraternity (such as the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception) occurs through an investiture, in which one is given a scapular as an outward mark of their membership.[3]

A Christian is made a knight or dame through an investiture, as with the Order of Saint John (Bailiwick of Brandenburg), a chivalric order.[1]


Investiture is the installation of individuals in institutions that usually have been extant from feudal times. For example, the installation of heads of state and various other state functions with ceremonial roles are invested with office. Usually, the investiture involves ceremonial transfer of the symbol of the particular office.

Judges in many countries, including justices of the Supreme Court of the United States, are invested with their office. American justices typically take two oaths: one to uphold the Constitution of the United States, and the other to apply justice equally.[4] Likewise, university presidents, rectors and chancellors are invested with office.

In Spain, the Prime Minister and similarly, the leaders of regional governments, undergo an election procedure called "investiture" or "parliamentary investiture". Established in the Spanish Constitution, the procedure consists in the candidate to prime minister defending its political program and the legislative chamber supporting it or rejecting it. If accepted, the monarch appoints him as prime minister.

Other uses

Lieutenant General Miles Dempsey is invested with his knighthood as Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath, in the field of battle, by King George VI on 15 October 1944, while Field Marshal Sir Bernard Montgomery looks on.

In the United Kingdom, around 2,600 people are invested personally by King Charles III or another senior member of the royal family each year. A list of those to be honoured is published twice a year, in either the New Year Honours or the Birthday Honours. Approximately 25 investitures are held annually, usually either in the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace or the Grand Reception Room in Windsor Castle.[5] The Palace of Holyroodhouse, in Edinburgh, Scotland, is also used, as are other locations from time to time.[6] In 2014 The then-Prince of Wales held an investiture at Hillsborough Castle in Northern Ireland.[7] Investitures are also held in other Commonwealth realms, when the governor-general acts on behalf of the King.[8]

The poem "The Investiture" by English poet, writer, and soldier Siegfried Sassoon is about a young man who was killed in battle during World War I.[9]

The term is used in the Scouting movement when enrolling a new youth member or an existing member is moving to a different section such as from Cubs to Scouts,[10][11] and for the ceremony in which a new member declares their commitment to Scouting traditions.[12][13]

In Brandon Sanderson's Cosmere fictional universe, investiture is an underlying mechanic of magic.

See also


  1. ^ a b "Palomares-Fernandez honored with knighthood". Texas Woman's University. 8 May 2018. Retrieved 26 April 2022. Ronald S. Palomares-Fernandez, Ph.D., a Texas Woman's University assistant professor of psychology, has been knighted by the Johanniter Order, a 900-year-old spiritual service organization dedicated to assisting the sick, the poor and the infirmed. Palomares-Fernandez received the honor for his humanitarian work in his church and around the world. Palomares-Fernandez was approved to serve as a Knight of Honor in March by the Herrenmeister, Prince Oscar of Prussia, Lord Master of the Brandenburg Bailiwick of the Knightly Order of Saint John of the Hospital of Jerusalem. His investiture and knighting ceremony occurred on April 7 in Boston, Massachusetts.
  2. ^ "Investiture in the Red Scapular: A Lifelong Devotion to Honor the Lord's Passion". Clallam Catholic. Retrieved 26 April 2022. scapular blessed by a priest. In wearing the scapular there is a promise (consecration) by the individual to pray and perform acts of charity and devotion. Investiture is done only once, and subsequent to being invested, the person wears the scapular at all times as a sign of that promise.
  3. ^ "The Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception". Congregation of Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. 19 July 2021. Retrieved 26 April 2022. By joining the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception, the faithful take upon themselves certain obligations and receive spiritual benefits. The ceremony of admittance into the Confraternity includes the investiture with the Blue Scapular. Confraternity members ought to piously wear the Scapular always as an outward mark of veneration for the Immaculate Conception of the B.V.M. and a symbol that sets them apart as people particularly dedicated to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
  4. ^ "Preparations Begin for Roberts' Swearing In". Fox News. 29 September 2005.
  5. ^ "Investitures". The official website of the Royal Family. The Royal Household. Retrieved 25 November 2023.
  6. ^ "Investitures". Royal Household.
  7. ^ "Prince of Wales gives OBE and MBE honours at Hillsborough Castle". BBC News.
  8. ^ Investiture Ceremonies, Governor General of Australia, accessed 2021-20-07
  9. ^ Sassoon, Siegfried (1918). The Investiture  – via Wikisource.
  10. ^ "Scout Investiture Fact Sheet" (PDF). 4 September 2012. Archived from the original (PDF) on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 4 September 2012.
  11. ^ "Investitures". Troop Program Resources.
  12. ^ "Scout Investiture Ceremony". ScoutDocs Resources for Scouting in Canada. Retrieved 25 September 2020.
  13. ^ "Investiture by Scouting Ireland". Scouting Ireland. 26 April 2022.

Media related to Investiture at Wikimedia Commons