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House Order of the Golden Lion
Sash, badge and breast star of the House Order of the Golden Lion
Type State Order (formerly)
Dynastic Order (currently)
Established14 August 1770 {Hesse-Kassel) [1]
October 1875 (Hesse and by Rhine) [2]
Royal house House of Hesse
MottoVirtute et Fidelitate
Awarded forCivil and military merit
Grand Master Donatus, Landgrave of Hesse
Former gradesGrand Cross
Commander 1st Class
Commander 2nd Class
Next (higher) Ludwig Order (after 1875)
Next (lower) Military Merit Order (Hesse-Kassel, until 1851); Wilhelmsorden (Hesse-Kassel, until 1875)
Order of Philip the Magnanimous (Hesse and by Rhine)

Ribbon bar of the order

The House Order of the Golden Lion ( German: Hausorden vom Goldenen Löwen) was an order of the German Landgraviate and Electorate of Hesse-Kassel and later, the Grand Duchy of Hesse and by Rhine. It was first instituted in 1770 by Landgrave Frederick II, in honour of and under the patronage of Saint Elizabeth of Hungary, an ancestor of the House of Hesse, and was intended to award auspicious merit.


Initially conferred in one class (Knight), the order was revised in 1815 by Landgrave William IX (later William I, Elector of Hesse), who added the grades of Grand Cross and Commander. [3] It was further expanded in 1818 with William splitting the Commander grade into two separate classes; thus, the order had the grades of Grand Cross, Commander 1st Class, Commander 2nd Class and Knight. [4] It reverted to a single-class order on 20 August 1851 when Elector Frederick William I founded the Wilhelmsorden, which was created from the latter three classes. [5] [6] Membership of the Order of the Golden Lion was then restricted to 41 knights, including the princes of the electoral family (who were inducted into the order from birth).

In the wake of the Austro-Prussian War in 1866, Hesse-Kassel – who had sided with Austria – was annexed into Prussia, with the Order of the Golden Lion and all electoral orders of chivalry incorporated into the Prussian honours system. [7] With the death of Frederick William I with no legitimate heirs, the main line of the Electoral House of Hesse-Kassel became extinct, and the orders were subsequently abolished on 27 August 1875. The order was later resurrected as the "Grand Ducal Hessian Order of the Golden Lion" by Louis III, Grand Duke of Hesse in October 1875, as a single-class order below that of the Ludwig Order. It was thereafter awarded to members of the Grand Ducal House and foreign royalty, as well as the high nobility.

The Order of the Golden Lion ceased to be a state order in 1918 with all grand ducal orders, following the defeat of Germany in World War I and the abdication of the last Grand Duke. It currently survives as a dynastic order of the House of Hesse. [8]


  • The badge consists of a crowned golden lion within a golden oval hoop on the obverse with the motto: "Virtute et Fidelitate", and on the lapel with the inscription:
    • I. Model: "Fridericus II D. G. Hassiae Landgravius inst. 1770."
    • II. Model: "Wilhelmus I Hassiae Elector 1803".
  • The ribbon is crimson in the widths for the sash, neck cross (commander) and pectoral cross (knight).
  • The collar, which was worn on special occasions, consisted of golden lions alternating with medallions with the inscription "FL".

The knights wore this medal on a crimson ribbon, hanging from the right shoulder to the left hip, and also on the left breast an eight-pointed silver star embroidered with rays, in the center of which on a blue handle with the red background and silver embroidered motto. [9]


Electoral order

Grand ducal order


  1. ^ Hessen-Kassel (1780). "Berzeichnis der Ritter des Fürstliche-Hessen-Casselischen Ordens vom Goldenen Löwen". Hochfürstl.-Hessen-Casselischer Staats- und Adreß-Calender: 1780. Waisen- u. Findelhaus.
  2. ^ Hof- und Staatshandbuch des Großherzogtums Hessen: 1878. Staatsverl. 1878. p.  43.
  3. ^ Hessen-Kassel (1817). Kur-Hessischer Staats- und Adress-Kalender: 1817. Verlag d. Waisenhauses. pp. 11–18.
  4. ^ Hessen-Kassel (1818). Kur-Hessischer Staats- und Adress-Kalender: 1818. Verlag d. Waisenhauses. pp.  11-19.
  5. ^ Hessen-Kassel (1852). Kurfürstlich Hessisches Hof- und Staatshandbuch: 1852. Waisenhaus. p.  10.
  6. ^ Hessen-Kassel (1866). Kurfürstlich Hessisches Hof- und Staatshandbuch: 1866. Waisenhaus. p.  19.
  7. ^ "Erklaerung der vorkommenden Bezeichnungen von Orden und Ehrenzeichen". Königlich Preußischer Staatsdienst-Kalender für Kurhessen. 1867. p. xi.
  8. ^ "Provisional List of Orders: Dynastic Orders". Register of Orders of Chivalry. 2002.
  9. ^ Hessen-Kassel (1866). Kurfürstlich Hessisches Hof- und Staatshandbuch: 1866. Waisenhaus. p.  14.