The Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George Knight’s Grand Cross, G.C.M.G., set of insignia comprising Breast Star and Sash Badge, silver, silver-gilt and enamels, housed in the original fitted presentation case by Spink and Son of London, of EIIR period manufacture, circa 1990’s, and with full length of sash ribbon. An excellent example and rare.
Condition: the enamel work very good, Nearly Extremely Fine, the case however shows signs of wear, and the catch for closure is now missing.
The Order of St Michael and St George was originally awarded to those holding commands or high position in the Mediterranean territories acquired in the Napoleonic Wars, and was subsequently extended to holders of similar office or position in other territories of the British Empire. It is at present awarded to men and women who hold high office or who render extraordinary or important non-military service in a foreign country, and can also be conferred for important or loyal service in relation to foreign and Commonwealth affairs.
It is used to honour individuals who have rendered important services in relation to Commonwealth or foreign nations. People are appointed to the Order rather than awarded it. British Ambassadors to foreign nations are regularly appointed as KCMGs or CMGs. For example, the former British Ambassador to the United States, Sir David Manning, was appointed a CMG when he worked for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, and then after his appointment as British Ambassador to the US, he was promoted to a Knight Commander (KCMG). It is the traditional award for members of the FCO.
The Order's motto is Auspicium melioris ævi (Latin for Token of a better age ). Its patron saints, as the name suggests, are St. Michael the Archangel, and St. George, patron saint of England. One of its primary symbols is that of St Michael trampling over and subduing Satan in battle.
The Order is the sixth-most senior in the British honours system, after The Most Noble Order of the Garter, The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle, The Most Illustrious Order of St Patrick, The Most Honourable Order of the Bath, and The Most Exalted Order of the Star of India. The third of the aforementioned Orders—which relates to Ireland, no longer fully a part of the United Kingdom—still exists but is in disuse; no appointments have been made to it since 1936. The last of the Orders on the list, related to India, has also been in disuse since that country's independence in 1947.
The Order was founded to commemorate the British amical protectorate over the Ionian Islands, which had come under British control in 1814 and had been granted its own constitution as the United States of the Ionian Islands in 1817. It was intended to reward natives of the Ionian Islands and of the island of Malta and its dependencies, and for such other subjects of His Majesty as may hold high and confidential situations in the Mediterranean.
In 1864, however, the protectorate ended and the Ionian Islands became a part of Greece. The Order's basis was revised in 1868; membership was granted to those who hold high and confidential offices within Her Majesty's colonial possessions, and in reward for services rendered to the Crown in relation to the foreign affairs of the Empire . Accordingly, numerous Governors-General and Governors feature as recipients of awards in the order.