Noble Order of Westarctica

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Grand Duke Travis in 2005 wearing the sash of the Noble Order of Westarctica

The Noble Order of Westarctica was the first Order of Chivalry created by Grand Duke Travis. It was created to recognize exceptional leadership qualities in foreign Heads of State, but the criteria was later expanded to include any leader with a noble title.

Creation of the Order

Although the Noble Order of Westarctica was the highest honor listed in the 17 March 2005 Royal Decree Revising the Orders of Westarctica which dealt with the four original Orders of Chivalry in Westarctica, it first came into use around the time the Grand Ducal Mandate was decreed. The section of the March 2005 decree on the Noble Order read:

This Noble Order is designed to recognize exceptional leadership characteristics in foreign Heads of State. There is one class, Knight. The regalia for this Order is a blue sash (or riband) worn across the right shoulder to the left-side waist.

Hereditary nature of the Order

The Noble Order of Westarctica is the only Order of Chivalry that is hereditary in nature. When the holder of the knighthood, even an honorary knighthood, dies, the honor is bestowed upon their heir. In most cases, as the order is only bestowed upon nobles or international Heads of State, whichever of their heirs assumes the throne or title becomes the new bearer of of Westarctica's knighthood as well.

It's important to note that in the case of abdications, a knight does not lose their knighthood merely because they are longer upon the throne. In the cases of monarchs who have abdicated, but are still living (King Juan Carlos, Queen Beatrix, King Gyanendra, King Albert, and King James), they retain their honorary knighthood until their death.

The first inheritance of a knighthood in the Noble Order of Westarctica occurred upon the death of Prince Rainier III of Monaco on 6 April 2005. His Serene Highness's honorary knighthood, which had been bestowed less than a year prior, passed to his son, Prince Albert II, who still holds it to this day.

Knights of the Order

The first knighthoods in the order were bestowed through the mail upon twelve reigning monarchs on 20 November 2004. As these were foreign leaders, the knighthoods were only honorary.

On 7 March 2005, honorary knighthoods were bestowed upon the exiled heirs of the Imperial thrones of Iran and Ethiopia. Due to an oversight in researching the Ethiopian Imperial bloodline, the knighthood was wrongly bestowed upon Prince Ermias Sahle Selassie, a cousin of the actual Emperor-in-exile. This oversight was corrected on 30 May 2018 when His Imperial Highness was stripped of the honor.

On 4 April 2005, President Kevin Baugh of Molossia was given an honorary knighthood. He remains the only non-royal, non-noble Knight of the order.

List of Knights

This list is current as of 16 March 2020

Name Year of appointment Previous Holder(s) of Knighthood Notes
Westarctica Grand Duke Travis of Westarctica 2004 Sovereign of the Order
w:United Kingdom Queen Elizabeth II of England 2004
w:Denmark Queen Margrethe II of Denmark 2004
w:Sweden King Carl XVI Gustaf of Sweden 2004
w:Spain King Juan Carlos I of Spain 2004 Abdicated in 2014
w:Netherlands Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands 2004 Abdicated in 2013
w:Norway King Harald V of Norway 2004
w:Belgium King Albert II of Belgium 2004 Abdicated in 2013
w:Nepal King Gyanendra of Nepal 2004 Monarchy abolished in 2008
w:Lesotho King Letsie III of Lesotho 2004
w:Iran Prince Reza Pahlavi of Iran 2005 Royal in exile. Monarchy overthrown in 1979
w:Monaco Prince Albert II of Monaco 2005 Rainier III (2004-2005) First heir to inherit a knighthood
w:Luxembourg Grand Duke Henri of Luxembourg 2005
Molossia President Kevin Baugh of Molossia 2005 Only non-royal member
w:Tonga King Tupou VI of Tonga 2012 Tupou IV (2004-2006), Tupou V (2006-2012)