|Type State Order|
Status Currently constituted
|Royal house House of Bourbon-Spain|
Grand Master King Felipe VI
|Motto "'A La LEALTAD ACRISOlADA
("To Proven Loyalty")
"POR ISABEL La CATÓLICA
("For Isabella the Catholic")|
Awarded for Actions in benefit to Spain and the Crown
The Order of Isabella the Catholic (Spanish: Orden de Isabel la Católica) is a Spanish civil order granted in recognition of services that benefit the country. The Order is not exclusive to Spaniards, and it has been awarded to many foreigners.
The Order was created on 14 March 1815 by King Ferdinand VII of Spain in honor of Queen Isabella I of Castile with the name of "Royal and American Order of Isabella the Catholic" with the intent of "rewarding the firm allegiance to Spain and the merits of Spanish citizens and foreigners in good standing with the Nation and especially in those exceptional services provided in pursuit of territories in America and overseas." The Order was reorganized by royal decree on 26 July 1847, as the modern "Royal Order of Isabella the Catholic" with a broader focus than the Americas.
Officials and grades
The King of Spain (currently Felipe VI) is Grand Master of the Order. The Grand Chancellor of the Order is the Minister of Foreign Affairs. All deeds granting decorations of the Order must bear the signatures of both. Members of the order at the knight and above enjoy personal nobility and have the privilege of adding a golden heraldic mantle to their coat of arms. Knights at the rank of Grand Cross and Knight of the Collar receive the official style of "His or Her most Excellent Lord". Knights at the rank of commander and commander by number receive the style of "His or Her Most Illustrious Lord". Beneath these two officials of the Order, there are currently several grades:
The original statutes of the order of 24 March 1815 established the order in three classes. The structure of the order has varied several times since then. The following is a summary of the history of the various grades and medals of the order:
Women appointed to an applicable grade are not called Knights (Caballeros). Women are instead appointed as Dames of the Collar (Damas del Collar), Dames Grand Cross (Damas Gran Cruz) or Dame's Cross (Cruz de Damas).
The decoration is a red-enameled cross, with a golden frame. The outer peaks are fitted with small gold balls. The center of the medallion contains the inscription "A La Lealtad Acrisolada" (To Proven Loyalty) and "Por Isabel la Católica" (For Isabella the Catholic) on white enamel. Above the cross is a green enameled laurel wreath with the band ring.
The ribbon is yellow with a white central stripe, except the "Collar", the wearing of which can be replaced by a gold-yellow sash with white stripes on the edges.