Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, 38, became part of the Royal Family when she married Prince William on April 29, 2011. To mark their eighth wedding anniversary Queen Elizabeth II gifted Kate an important royal honour.
The Queen made Kate Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO).
The honorary title is the highest rank in a form of chivalry personally granted by the sovereign to recognize one’s service.
The honour saw Kate join the ranks of several other important Royal Family members.
These include Prince Philip, Princess Anne and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall.
Which Royal Family members are Dame/Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order?
Princess Anne – Anne was made Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 2007.
She also holds the very important position of Grand Master – a role she was appointed to by the Queen in 2007.
Prince Edward’s wife Sophie Countess of Wessex was made Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 2010.
Prince Andrew and Prince Edward were both appointed Knights Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 2011.
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall was granted the title in 2012.
The Queen’s husband and consort Prince Philip already possessed a plethora of honorary titles when he was made Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order in 2017 – the same year he retired from public duty.
What is the criteria for receiving the special honour?
Membership of the Royal Victorian Order is not limited to Royal Family members and can be bestowed on any Commonwealth member for extraordinary service to the sovereign.
Unlike knighthoods, for which the Queen must seek ministerial advice, it is completely up to her who she chooses to make a member of the Royal Victorian Order.
The five levels of the Royal Victorian Order
The five levels of the Royal Victorian Order are as follows:
1.) Knight/Dame Grand Cross
2.) Knight/Dame Commander
Medal holders are associated with the order but are not fully-fledged members.
Different sashes and vestments reflect are given to members to reflect their status within the order.
All members are given the badge of the Maltese cross medal with a central medallion depicting on a red background the Royal Cypher of Queen Victoria surrounded by a blue ring bearing the motto of the order – VICTORIA – and surmounted by a Tudor crown.
As a Dame Grand Cross, Kate wears her badge on a sash passing from the right shoulder to the left hip.