|Type Order of knighthood|
Established 20 February 1868
|Status In abeyance|
Last awarded 18 March 1983
|Eligibility Civilian and military divisions|
Awarded for Meritorious service or achievement
The Order of the Crown of Italy was founded as a national order in 1868 by King Vittorio Emanuele II, to commemorate the unification of Italy in 1861. It was awarded in five degrees for civilian and military merit.
Compared with the older Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus (1572), the Order of the Crown of Italy was awarded more liberally and could be conferred on non-Catholics as well; eventually, it became a requirement for a person to have already received the Order of the Crown of Italy in at least the same degree before receiving the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus.
The order has been suppressed by law since the foundation of the Republic in 1946. However, Umberto II did not abdicate his position as fons honorum and it remained under his Grand Mastership as a dynastic order. While the continued use of those decorations conferred prior to 1951 is permitted in Italy, the crowns on the ribbons issued before 1946 must be substituted for as many five pointed stars on military uniforms.
Order of Merit of Savoy
Following the demise of the last reigning monarch in 1983, the order, founded by the first, is no longer bestowed. It was replaced by the Order of Merit of Savoy instituted by his heir, the current head of the former Royal House, in 1988. While the Ordine al merito d'Savoia has never been a national order, it is subsidiary to the Civil Order of Savoy which was. The Order of Merit has around 2,000 members and, as with the Order of the Crown of Italy previously, it is entrusted to the Chancellor of the Order of Saints Maurice and Lazarus.
The various degrees of the order, with corresponding ribbons, were as follows: