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Dynastic Honours

Dynastic Honours is a term sometimes used to describe those honours of the Crown of the United Kingdom which may be awarded as the personal gift of the Sovereign without ministerial advice, which is normally required before any order or decoration is awarded.  Examples are the Order of the Garter, the Order of Merit and the Royal Victorian Order.

The Order of the Garter

The Order of the Garter was founded in 1348 and membership is restricted to the Sovereign, the Prince of Wales and twenty-five other Knights or Dames. Only three New Zealanders, Sir Keith Holyoake, Sir Edmund Hillary and Lord Elworthy have been members of the Order, although Lord Elworthy was appointed for his service in the Royal Air Force in Britain.

The Order of Merit

Membership of the Order of Merit, which was instituted in 1902, consists of the Sovereign and only twenty-four members. Lord Rutherford of Nelson is one of only three New Zealanders to have been admitted to this Order.

The Royal Victorian Order

The Royal Victorian Order, founded in 1896, has five levels and is awarded for outstanding personal services to the Sovereign or members of the Royal Family. Several New Zealanders have been appointed to membership of this Order including some military personnel.

In March 2009 Sir Donald McKinnon was appointed as a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO).  Sir Donald McKinnon served as the Commonwealth Secretary-General for eight years from 2000 to 2008 following a 21-year career in New Zealand politics. He was New Zealand's longest serving Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade.

More information on Dynastic Orders

Although New Zealanders may be appointed to these Orders, they are not featured in this website. However for completeness they still appear in the Wearing of Medals in New Zealand TableMore information on Dynastic Orders can be viewed on the medals.org.uk website.