The Royal Order of Victoria & Albert was a British Royal Family Order instituted on 10 February 1862 by Queen Victoria, & enlarged on 10 October 1864; 15 November 1865; & 15 March 1880. No awards were made after the death of Queen Victoria.
The order had four classes & was only granted to female members of the British Royal Family & female courtiers. For the first three classes, the badge consisted of a medallion of Queen Victoria & Albert, The Prince Consort, differing in the width & jewelling of the border as the classes descend, whilst the fourth substitutes a jeweled cipher. All four were surmounted by a crown, which was attached to a bow of white silk moiré ribbon. The honour conferred no rank or title upon the recipient, but recipients were entitled to use the post-nominal letters “VA”.
The last holder of the Order, Princess Alice, Countess of Athlone, died in 1981.
Like other British Orders which have fallen into disuse, it has never been formally abolished. Each British monarch since Victoria has become Sovereign of the Order upon accession to the throne. The current monarch, Queen Elizabeth II, thus has been Sovereign of the Order since 1952.
There are too many recipients to mention, but here are a few; .
- Victoria, Princess Royal, German Empress (21 November 1840 – 5 August 1901)
- Queen Alexandra (1 December 1844 – 20 November 1925) .
- Queen Mary (26 May 1867 – 24 March 1953) .
Among the Foreign recipients were;
- Louise of Hesse-Kassel, Queen of Denmark (7 September 1817 – 29 September 1898) .
- Augusta Victoria of Schleswig-Holstein, German empress and queen of Prussia (22 October 1858 – 11 April 1921) .
- Alexandra Feodorovna (Alix of Hesse), Empress consort of Russia (6 June 1872 – 17 July 1918) .
- Queen Wilhelmina of the Netherlands (31 August 1880 – 28 November 1962) .
Royal Family Order
The Royal Family Order is an order awarded by the sovereign of a monarchy to female members of the royal family, as female members of the royal family typically do not wear the commemorative medals that men wear.
The order is more of a personal memento rather than a state decoration although it can be worn during state occasions. The only way to know who the order has been given to is to see the recipient wearing it.
The first Royal Family Order was issued during & after the regency of George IV. Prior to 1820, he started the practice of presenting the order to ladies & gentlemen of the Court, particularly female members of the Royal family. His order was rather ornate in appearance, & the frame that surrounded his portrait was of diamond oak leaves & acorns. The badge was suspended from a white silk bow which varied for men & women. As a young woman, Princess Victoria of Kent (later Queen Victoria) received this badge from her uncle.