Today in the Chapel of St Gerge many hundreds of people are gathering for a service of Praise, Remembrance and Dedication for the members of the Royal Victorian Order.
The Royal Victorian Order is given by The Queen to people who have served her or the Monarchy in a personal way.
These may include officials of the Royal Household, family members or perhaps British Ambassadors who have helped organise a State Visit to a particular country.
The Order was founded in April 1896 by Queen Victoria as a way of rewarding personal service to her, on her own initiative rather than by ministerial recommendation.
The Order was, and is, entirely within the Sovereign’s personal gift.
The anniversary of the institution of the Order is 20 June, the day of Queen Victoria’s accession to the throne.
There have never been any limits on the number of appointments made. Today, people receive their award either privately from The Queen or another member of the Royal Family, or during an Investiture.
Often, after a State Visit, the Queen will invest people in the country visited before returning to the United Kingdom.
The Order is also conferred on foreigners, and it is often awarded by the Sovereign during official tours overseas.
The first foreigners to receive the Order were the Prefect of Alpes Maritimes and the Mayor of Nice, during Queen Victoria’s visit to the south of France in 1896.
The Chapel of the Order is The Queen’s Chapel of the Savoy, a ‘Royal peculiar’ which for historic reasons is in the private possession of the Sovereign in his or her right as the Duke of Lancaster.
The number of members in recent years has outgrown the available space in the Savoy Chapel, so the service for those who have received awards is now held in St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle every four years.
Many members of the Royal Family who have themselves received the award are present, along with the many recipients, who include servants of The Queen who have served the Monarchy for many years.