Created in 1783 by George III, The Order of Saint Patrick is an inactive British order of chivalry connected to Ireland. It was awarded to Irish peers that were in support of the government as well as those who held high office in Ireland.
As the Order of the Garter represents England and the Order of the Thistle is representative of Scotland, The Order of St Patrick was the national order for Ireland.
When Ireland became independent as the Irish Free State, the Order of St. Patrick ceased to be awarded. While the Order in principle still exists, no knight of St Patrick has been dubbed since 1936. Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester, the last surviving knight died in 1974. The Queen, though, continues to remain the Sovereign of the Order.
The rulings of the Order limited membership to men who were both knights and gentlemen. Gentlemen were required to have three generations of ancestors bearing coats of arms or noblesse as they were titled, on both parent’s sides. Tradition had only Irish Peers and occasional foreign prince chosen for the Order.
The number of Knights of St Patrick was 15. In 1833, the number increased to 22. The Knights of the Order of St Patrick wore cloaks of sky-blue satin, with the star of the Order embroidered in silver on the right breast. The Order’s most well-known emblem was the badge and star worn by the Lord Lieutenant. William IV made these available in 1830 for the functioning Lord Lieutenant.
The insignia contained pieces of Queen Charlotte’s jewellery and one of King George III Order of the Bath Badges and composed of 394 stones.
In 1907, The Order gained international attention when its insignia, recognized as the Irish Crown Jewels, were stolen from Dublin Castle. Their location continues to be a mystery till this day.
Motto: Quis separabit
Chapel: St Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin
Ranks: Knight
Post-nominals: KP
Founded: 1783
Discontinued: 1922