Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Order of St Patrick


Established in 1783, it was an order of knighthood and the letters KP followed the recipient's title.

Originally founded as a gesture of goodwill towards the Kingdom of Ireland, it was made available to Irish peers who had rendered distinguished services, and to those who could not be admitted to the Order of the Garter (limited to twenty-four).

The Order of St Patrick was restricted to twenty-two knights.

The insignia was particularly decorative: a sash riband was worn over the left shoulder, light blue in colour, with an oval pierced badge suspended from it.

This consisted of a shamrock with three crowns on its leaves (representing the kingdoms of England, Ireland and Scotland), the shamrock being placed on a cross of St Patrick.

The centre was surrounded by an oval which bore the legend QUIS SEPARABIT - who shall separate - and the Latin numerals, MDCCLXXXIII (1783).

The gold and enamel collar chain consisted of alternate roses and harps.

The breast star was of silver with a representation of the sash badge in the centre.

The mantle was also light blue satin with the star of the Order embroidered thereon.

The badge and plume of the Irish Guards are based on the Order's star and light blue colour.

The Order was discontinued following the secession of the Irish Republic from the United Kingdom in 1922.

3rd Duke of Abercorn. Photo credit: Government Art Collection

The last non-royal recipient was the 3rd Duke of Abercorn, KG, KP, PC, in 1922.

The last surviving recipient of the Patrick was His late Royal Highness The Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, who died in 1974.

Henry, Duke of Gloucester, Earl of Ulster KG KP etc

The last appointment to the Order was for His Royal Highness The Prince Albert Frederick Arthur George, Duke of York (later GEORGE VI), conferred on St Patrick's Day, 1936.

The Rev Professor Peter Galloway, OBE, JP, has written a book about the Order, entitled The Most Illustrious Order: The Order of Saint Patrick and its Knights, by Unicorn Press.

As Professor Galloway concluded, 
Perhaps a day may come when the Order of St Patrick could be revived but, until a new, appropriate and acceptable constituency can be discerned, this seems unlikely in the foreseeable future.
First published in July, 2008.

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