Titles, Honours & Medals

To celebrate HRH The Countess of Wessex’s birthday on the 20th January, 
let’s take a look at Titles, Honours & Medals HRH has received from HM The Queen.
Photography by Frankie Fouganthin via wikipedia, shared under the Creative Commons License

On a wedding day of Miss Sophie Rhys-Jones, Prince Edward was created a hereditary peer as Earl of Wessex with the subsidiary title of Viscount Severn. The Queen also declared her intention that he will be elevated as Duke of Edinburgh when that title reverts to the Crown (after the death of the current Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales’ succession as King).
So, on her wedding day Miss Sophie became The Countess of Wessex, Viscountess Severn.

Update, on the 10th of March 2019, The Queen has been pleased to grant The Earl of Wessex the additional title of Earl of Forfar. Their Royal Highnesses will use the title The Earl and Countess of Forfar when in Scotland.

Also, as Miss Sophie has married the youngest son of The Queen of England, she has become a British Princess by marriage. 
Explanation: George V’s Letters Patent of 30 November 1917, states that the title “Princess” and the use of the style “Royal Highness” has generally been restricted to the following persons:

  • the legitimate daughters of a British sovereign,
  • the legitimate male line granddaughters of a British sovereign,
  • the wife of a British prince.

Full royal title of Miss Sophie Rhys-Jones: Her Royal Highness The Princess Edward, Countess of Wessex, Viscountess Severn, Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order, Dame of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.

In the future, when the title Duke of Edinburgh will revert to the Crown, she will be styled as The Duchess of Edinburgh.


The Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II is an honour bestowed on female members of the British Royal Family by Queen Elizabeth II. The order is worn on formal occasions.
The Royal Family Order depicts a young Queen Elizabeth II in evening dress wearing the ribbon and star of the Order of the Garter. The miniature, painted on ivory, is bordered by diamonds and surmounted by a Tudor Crown in diamonds and red enamel. The reverse, in silver-gilt, is patterned with rays and depicts the royal cypher and St. Edward’s Crown in gold and enamel. The watered silk ribbon is chartreuse yellow and formed into a bow. It is worn pinned to the dress of the recipient on the left shoulder.

close up of The Royal Family Order of Queen Elizabeth II

2005 – : Dame of Justice of the Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem (DStJ)
The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of Saint John of Jerusalem, also referred to as the Order of St. John, is a royal order of chivalry established in 1831 and found today throughout the Commonwealth of Nations, Hong Kong, Ireland, and the United States of America, with the world-wide mission “to prevent and relieve sickness and injury, and to act to enhance the health and well-being of people anywhere in the world.”
Queen Elizabeth II—the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms since 1952—is at the apex of the Order of St. John as its Sovereign Head, followed by the Grand Prior—since 1974 the Duke of Gloucester.
Knights and Dames receive the accolade from the Grand Prior when they are touched on the shoulder with a sword and are given their robes and insignia.
All Bailiffs and Dames Grand Cross may wear their badges either at the left hip on a 82.5 millimetres (3.25 in) (for women) wide, black watered silk ribbon over the right shoulder or from a 16.5 millimetres (0.65 in) wide black band at the collar.

All members of the order are also required to wear specific robes for formal occasions of the society, including a mantle, sopra vest, and hat. The mantles of the Sovereign Head and Grand Prior are all of black silk velvet and lined with white silk, the former’s differentiated by an additional train.

Badge of Dame of Justice

2010 – : Dame Grand Cross of the Royal Victorian Order (GCVO)
The Royal Victorian Order is a dynastic order of knighthood recognising distinguished personal service to the order’s Sovereign, currently the reigning monarch of the Commonwealth realms, any members of their family, or any viceroy. Established in 1896, the order’s chapel is the Savoy Chapel, its official day is 20 June, and its motto is Victoria, alluding to the society’s founder, Queen Victoria.
Prior to the close of the 19th century, most general honours within the British Empire were bestowed by the sovereign on the advice of his or her British ministers, who sometimes forwarded advice from ministers of the Crown in the Dominions and colonies (appointments to the then most senior orders of chivalry—the Most Noble Order of the Garter and the Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle—had been made on ministerial advice since the 18th century and were not restored to the personal gift of the sovereign until 1946 and 1947, respectively.
Queen Victoria thus established on 21 April 1896 the Royal Victorian Order as a junior and personal order of knighthood that allowed her to bestow directly to an empire-wide community honours for personal services.
The organization was founded a year preceding Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee, so as to give the Queen time to complete a list of first inductees. The order’s official day was made 20 June of each year, marking the anniversary of Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne.
Upon admission into the Royal Victorian Order, members are given various insignia of the organization, each grade being represented by different emblems and robes. Common for all members is the badge, which is a Maltese cross 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.

Sash with Maltese Cross & Star of Dame Grand Cross/GCVO

2002: Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal
The Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal or the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal was a commemorative medal created in 2002 to mark the fiftieth anniversary of Elizabeth II’s accession. The Queen Elizabeth II Golden Jubilee Medal was awarded in Canada to nominees who contributed to public life. The Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal was awarded to active personnel in the British Armed Forces who had completed 5 years of qualifying service.

pic via My Collectors, click on pic to read more

7 June 2005: Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan
Awarded by The Government of Saskatchewan
The Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan also called the Saskatchewan Centennial Medal is a commemorative medal struck to celebrate the first 100 years since Saskatchewan’s entrance into Canadian Confederation.
The medal recognizes individuals who have made significant contributions to society and honours outstanding achievements. Approximately 4,200 medals were produced.

via site of Governor General of Canada, click on pic to read more

2012: Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal
The Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal or The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal is a commemorative medal created in 2012 to mark the sixtieth anniversary of Elizabeth II’s accession to the thrones of the Commonwealth realms. There are three versions of the medal: one issued by the United Kingdom, another by Canada, and the third for the Caribbean realms of Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines. The ribbon used with the Canadian and British versions of the medal are the same, while the Caribbean medal’s ribbon differs slightly. The different iterations of the medal were presented to tens of thousands of recipients throughout the Commonwealth of Nations in the jubilee year.

via wikipedia, shared under the Creative Commons License