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LOUIS, 1st EARL MOUNTBATTEN OF BURMA
Mountbatten's Orders & Decorations

It is well documented that Mountbatten (like many of his Mountbatten/Battenberg cousins) had a great personal pleasure from accepting honours and decorations, or wearing as many of them as possible at every event and function where appropriate and often when not appropriate.  An example of this was the wedding of Princess Margaret (1930-2002) to Sir Antony Armstrong-Jones, 1st Earl of Snowdon (1930-2017) when he wore full dress uniform of an Admiral, despite all the other guests wearing morning dress. Frequently Mountbatten would accept foreign honours despite being told by UK Government Ministers not to and he would circumnavigate the usual official channels by going direct to Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-2022) rather than taking instructions from bureaucrats within the Foreign & Commonwealth Office.  

 

Mountbatten's biographer - Philip Zeigler (b.1929) said - "Mountbatten collected decorations as others collect stamps" so it was no surprise when he attended the 1962 wedding of King Juan Carlos I of Spain (b.1938) to Princess Sofia of Greece & Denmark (b.1938) he expressed his pleasure of how bedecked with honours he was, saying - "it was everything and the kitchen stove today. Five British stars, Greek and Spanish stars, the collar of the Garter and three neck decorations." However he said - "I think I've inherited a certain weakness about dressing up.  I come from a long line of dressers-up...  I must confess it entertains me vastly to be dressed up and to have Orders and decorations. Except this: I want to have earned the uniform. I want to have earned the decoration.  And then I'm very pleased to have it."

Although Mountbatten took his honours seriously, he did have a semi-joking rivalry with Field Marshal The Rt Hon. Sir Bernard Montgomery, 1st Viscount Montgomery of Alamein (1887-1976). Talking about his own medal ribbons, he once said that Montgomery would count Mountbatten's medals saying - "I don't know whether he thinks I've popped in one or two that I'm not entitled to, but he usually asks whether I've had any more lately" - however Montgomery did indeed have more medal ribbons! Prior to Mountbatten's death, he personally arranged how his various orders and decorations would be borne in his funeral procession.  As was typical with him - even in death, Mountbatten organised every detail of his own self-importance and self-glorification. 

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 Mountbatten with Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales at the Coronation of King Birendra of Nepal in 1975 ​

Mountbatten with (right)

Prince Charles, The Prince of Wales,

later King Charles III

at the 1975 Coronation of

King Birendra of Nepal

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Mountbatten on parade in the uniform of

an Admiral of the Fleet
 

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Mountbatten with Queen Elizabeth II

(left) at Carisbrooke Castle

upon his installation of

Governor of the Isle of Wight in 1965
 

In 2017, upon his appointment as a Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO), 

Mountbatten's nephew - Prince Philip, 1st Duke of Edinburgh (1921-2021) became the first British national since Mountbatten to be entitled to wear the breast stars of four orders of chivalry in the United Kingdom.

LEFT: Mountbatten in his uniform

as Colonel of the Life Guards
(Gold Stick-in Waiting)
.  On his uniform

he is wearing four breast stars of - 
The Order of the Garter;

The Order of the Bath;

The Order of The Star of India

and The Royal Victorian Order
 

 

Mountbatten's principal UK orders and decorations and some of his many foreign orders are shown below - 

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KNIGHT COMPANION OF THE MOST NOBLE ORDER OF THE GARTER (KG)


The Order of the Garter was founded in 1348 by King Edward III (1312(1327-1377) and is the most senior order of chivalry in the British honours system, and is outranked only by the Victoria Cross and George Cross.  Admission into the Order remains the personal gift of the Sovereign.  Mountbatten was made a Knight of the Garter in 1946 by King George VI (1895(1936-1952) and was the 897th Knight of the Order.

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KNIGHT GRAND CROSS (Military Division) OF THE MOST HONOURABLE ORDER OF THE BATH (GCB)


The Order of the Bath was founded in 1725 by King George I (1660(1714-1727) and is the fourth most senior order of chivalry in the British honours system.   Mountbatten was made a Knight Grand Cross of the order in 1955, having been made a Knight Commander (KCB) in 1945 and a Commander (CB) in 1943. 

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Order of the Star of India - Knight Gran
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MEMBER (Military Division) OF THE ORDER OF MERIT (OM)


The Order of Merit was founded in 1902 by King Edward VII (1841(1901-1910) and recognises distinguished service in the armed forces, science, art, literature, or for the promotion of culture.  Admission into the Order remains the personal gift of the Sovereign.  Mountbatten was appointed to the Order in 1965, upon relinquishing the post of Chief of the Defence Staff.  Mountbatten was the last person to appointed to the Military Division of the Order.

KNIGHT GRAND COMMANDER OF THE MOST EXALTED STAR OF INDIA (GCSI)


The Order of the Star of India was founded in 1861 by Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901) and was the senior order of chivalry in the British Raj.  The Order has never been formally abolished, with the last appointments made in the New Year's Honours List of 1948.  Mountbatten was appointed in 1947 upon his appointment as Viceroy of India when he became ex offio Grand Master of the Order.  Mountbatten was the last Grand Master of the Order.

KNIGHT GRAND COMMANDER OF THE MOST EMINENT ORDER OF THE INDIAN EMPIRE (GCIE)


The Order of the Star of India was founded in 1878 by Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901) and was the junior order of chivalry in the British Raj.  The Order has never been formally abolished, with the last appointments made in the New Year's Honours List of 1948.  Mountbatten was appointed in 1947 upon his appointment as Viceroy of India when he became ex offio Grand Master of the Order.  Mountbatten was the last Grand Master of the Order.

KNIGHT GRAND CROSS OF THE ROYAL VICTORIAN ORDER (GCVO)


The Royal Victorian Order was founded in 1896 by Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901)  for distinguished personal service to the Sovereign.  Admission into the Order remains the personal gift of the Sovereign.  Mountbatten was appointed in 1937, having been made a Knight Commander (KCVO) in 1922 and a Member (MVO) in 1920.

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COMPANION OF THE DISTINGUISHED SERVICE ORDER (DSO)


The Distinguished Service Order was founded in 1886 by Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901) for meritorious or distinguished service by officers of the armed forces during wartime, typically in actual combat.  Mountbatten was appointed in 1941 for "outstanding zeal, patience and cheerfulness, and for never failing to set an example of wholehearted devotion to duty, without 'which the high tradition of the Royal Navy could not have been upheld."

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KNIGHT OF JUSTICE OF THE VENERABLE ORDER OF THE HOSPITAL OF ST. JOHN OF JERUSALEM (KStJ)


The Order of St. John was founded as an independent ecumenical Christian Order of chivalry in 1888 by Royal Charter from Queen Victoria (1819(1837-1901) and is dedicated to St. John The Baptist.  Mountbatten was appointed in 1940, having been made a Commander (CStJ) in 1929. 

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Mountbatten was always extremely proud (some would say arrogance) of having a chest full of medals.  Here is a list of some of the medals (with the year that they were given in brackets) that he wore, which mostly included World War II campaign medals, Jubilee and Coronation commemorative medals, and a few foreign medals from the USA and France.

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Mountbatten's principal medals
 

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WWI

British War Medal

(1918)

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WWI

Victory Medal

1914-1919

(1918)

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WWII

1939-1945 Star

(1945)

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WWII
Atlantic Star

(1945)

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WWII
Africa Star

(1945)

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WWII
Burma Star

(1945)

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WWII

Italy Star

(1945)

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WWII

Defence Medal

(1945)

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WWII

War Medal

Mentioned in Dispatches

1940 & 1941

(1945)

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Naval General Service Medal - 

SE Asia 1945/6

(1946)

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King George V
Coronation 
Medal

(1911)

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King George V
Silver Jubilee

Medal

(1935)

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King George VI

Coronation Medal

(1937)

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Queen Elizabeth II

Coronation Medal

(1953)

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Queen Elizabeth II

Silver Jubilee
Medal

(1977)

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Indian

Independence

Medal
(1948)

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Distinguished

Service Medal

USA

(1945)

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Chief Commander

Legion of Merit

USA

(1943)

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Asiatic-Pacific

Campaign Medal

USA
(1945)

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War Cross

2nd Class

GREECE

(1941)

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Grand Cross of

the National Order of the Legion of Honour

FRANCE
(1946)

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Croix de Guerre

FRANCE
(1946)

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The Most Refulgent Order of the Star of Nepal 

NEPAL
(1946)

 

Some of Mountbatten's other numerous foreign orders are shown below - 

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Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Louis of Hesse

HESSE

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Knight Grand Cross

of the Order

of Isabella the Catholic

SPAIN
(1922)

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Order of the Nile

4th Class

EGYPT
(1922)

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Knight Grand Cross (Military)

of the Royal Order of George I

GREECE 
(1946)

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King Birendra

of Nepal

Coronation Medal

NEPAL
(1975)

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Knight Grand Cross of the Order

of the Netherlands Lion

THE NETHERLANDS

(1948)

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Knight Grand Cross of the Order

of the Crown of Romania

ROMANIA
(1924)

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Knight Grand Cross of the Military Order

of St Benedict Aviz

PORTUGAL
(1951)

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Knight of the Royal Order

of the Seraphim

SWEDEN
(1952)

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Knight Grand Cross

of the Order of the Dannebrog

DENMARK
(1962)

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Knight Grand Cross

of the Order of the Seal of Solomon

ETHIOPIAN EMPIRE
(1965)

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Knight Grand Cross

of the Most Exalted Order

of the White Elephant
THAILAND
(1946)

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Knight of the Order

of the Star of Romania

ROMANIA
(1937)

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Special Grand Cordon

of the Order of

the Cloud & Banner

CHINA
(1945)

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Grand Commander

of the Order of

Thiri Thudhamma

UNION OF BURMA
(1956)

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Order of the 

Rising Sun

4th Class

JAPAN
(1922)

 

As a Personal Aide-de-Camp - ADC(P) to Queen Elizabeth II (1926(1952-2022) and formerly to King Edward VIII (1894(1936)1972) - having been appointed on 23rd June 1936, and King George VI (1895(1936-1952), Mountbatten would wear the emblems of this appointment - the Royal cypher and Crown (of the Sovereign who appointed them), worn on his uniform shoulder boards and epaulettes.  In addition, he would wear No. 1 gold aiguillettes (braided loops hanging from the right shoulder ending in points).

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ABOVE: Mountbatten's uniform -

whilst Supreme Allied Commander,

SE Asia (SACSEA) which is 

now in the Imperial War Museum,

London

 

RIGHT: Mountbatten at Broadlands,
in his uniform as an

Admiral of the Fleet,

showing the aiguillettes

(on his right shoulder)

of a Personal Aide-de-Camp ADC(P)

to the Sovereign

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