Friday 14 December 2012

Order of the Indian Empire

Lord Northcote, Viceroy, wearing the collar of the order

The Order of the India Empire was the second of the orders of chivalry founded by Queen Victoria to mark meritorious service in India,  in order of precedence after the Order of the Star of India.  It was established by letters patent of 31 December 1877, following the adoption by Victoria of the title 'Empress of India' in 1876.

The Maharaja of Dhrangadhra-Halvad,
the last surviving member of the order
It originally consisted one class of membership - Companions - with the Sovereign and the Viceroy as Grand Master.  Members of the Council of the Governor-General were ex officio members.  In 1886 the order was expanded by the addition of Knights Commanders up to a maximum of 50 in number.  In 1887 it was reorganised into three classes: up to 25 Knights Grand Commanders (GCIEs), up to 50 Knights Commanders (KCIEs) and an unlimited number of Companions (CIEs).  As with the Order of the Star of India, the title 'Knight Grand Commander' was chosen rather than 'Knights Grand Cross so as not to offend the non-Christians member of the order.  The Governors of Madras, Bombay and Bengal were ex officio appointed GCIEs.

The order lapsed in 1947, following the independence of India and Pakistan.  The the last surviving member of the order, the Maharaja of Dhrangadhra-Halvad a KCIE, died in 2010.

Knight Grand Commander (GCIE)

The Maharao of Sirohi wearing the
mantle, collar and star of a GCIE
A GCIE's insignia consisted of a collar badge and a mantle of imperial purple or dark blue satin with a representation of the star on the left and tied with a white silk cord with gold tassles.

The mantle was only worn on special state occasions - in ordinary full dress uniform, a GCSI wore the star on the left breast and the badge on the left hip from a broad sash.

The collar was a silver-gilt chain composed of elephants, lotus flowers, peacocks in their pride and Indian roses with, in the centre the Imperial Crown.

The badge was a gold five-petalled rose, enamelled crimson and with a green barb between each petal.

In the centre is an effigy of Queen Victoria in gold, surrounded by a purple ribbon originally inscribed VICTORIA IMPERATRIX, but from 1901 IMPERATRICIS AUSPICIIS ('under the auspices of the Empress).  The letters I N D I A were inscribed on the petals of the first type,
but not on the second.
GCIE neck badge

The star was composed of fine silver rays with smaller gold rays between them.; In the centre, within a purple circle bearing the motto of the order and surmounted by the Imperial Crown, is the effigy of Queen Victoria in gold.

Knight Grand Commander: Star

Knights Commander (KCIE)
Sir Charles Augustus Tegart (1881–1946), KCIE, CSI, MVO, Calcutta Police, c.1940

Sir Charles Augustus Tegart, KCIE, CSI, MVO

KCIEs wore a badge round the neck and a star on the left breast.

These were similar to those of GCIEs, but smaller and less lavishly decorated, the star being entirely of silver.

Knight Commander: Star

Companions (CIE)

CIE breast badge (1st type)
Companions originally wore a breast badge, but from 1917 these were worn at the neck.

As with the insignia of the other classes of the order, these came in two types - with and without the letters I N D I A.

Maj-Gen Sir Charles Metcalfe MacGregor, KCB, CSI, CIE

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