Queen’s Platinum Jubilee an opportunity for newly named honours

Order of the British Empire Insignia, by Robert Prummel (CC licence)With the recent publication of the Queen’s Birthday Honours list, we yet again have voices calling for the word “Empire” to be removed from the name of those honours.

I addressed this issue back in 2016, and do not have much else to add to what I said then. In summary, you can not rename an order of chivalry like that. Now to be fair, some of the better informed people are suggesting a new order called the “Order of British Excellence” be instituted, rather than renaming the existing one. The trouble with that is that you can’t have the same sets of postnominal letters referring to two different orders. Plus there is still then issue that the “Order of British Excellence” sounds likes a prize awarded by the local Chamber of Commerce.

In 2016, I did suggest my own solution, which was to create a new Royal Elizabethan Order in honour of the Queen. This could contain ranks such as MRE, ORE and, CRE. People would soon get used to these new designations, and no-one would consider the old or new awards to be inferior, just as people in Australia and New Zealand coped when they switched from the Order of the British Empire to new orders of chivalry.

It does strike me, however, that the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee next year offers a great opportunity to establish the new order. What better way to mark the reign of our longest serving monarch than to name an order of chivalry after her? The advantage is that the change could be sold in this way to traditionalists unhappy at retiring the old honours. People who object to the name of the current order would be satisfied, so everyone would be happy. Any takers?

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