Original Statute of the Royal Order of Francis I

DECREE OF FOUNDATION FRANCESCO I, BY THE GRACE OF GOD KING OF THE KINGDOM OF THE TWO SICILIES, OF JERUSALEM, etc., DUKE OF PARMA, PIACENZA, CASTRO, etc., HEREDITARY GRAND PRINCE OF TUSCANY, etc., etc., etc....

It being one of our principal interests to promote by all the means at our disposal the zeal of our subjects in the exercise of various civil offices assigned to them by us, and ever desiring to foster advancements in the sciences and the fine arts, as well as in the various aspects of industry, agriculture and commerce upon which the continued prosperity of the kingdom depends; Considering that awards of honour and merit are the most powerful recognition of such virtuous and praiseworthy activities; Having heard our Council of State in Ordinary; We have resolved to sanction, and by these presents do approve the following law.

ARTICLE 1. We hereby establish in our Kingdom of the Two Sicilies an order of knighthood, expressly intended to recognise civil merit, which shall bear the name of the ROYAL ORDER OF FRANCIS I.

2. Insofar as this distinguished order of knighthood shall be accorded the dignity of our illustrious and esteemed Crown, we declare ourself and our Royal Person the Sovereign Head and Grand Master of the aforementioned Order, and shall display its decoration and ribbon upon our Royal Person, as well as suspended from the royal coat of arms; and we desire that the Supreme Magistry of the said Order shall always be vested in our Royal Crown.

3. The said Order shall have five grades, namely Knight Grand Cross, Knight Commander, Knight, Conferee of the Medal in Gold, and Conferee of the Medal in Silver.

4. Exclusively those our subjects who have rendered to the Crown and to the state the most outstanding and loyal service in the exercise of the highest offices in the political, diplomatic, or judicial spheres, or in any branch of administrative or ecclesiastical service, may be decorated with the Grand Cross.

5. Those who have rendered extraordinary service in the exercise of important offices in the political, diplomatic, or judicial spheres, or in any branch of administrative or ecclesiastical service, may be decorated with the rank of Knight Commander.

6. Those who have rendered faithful service in the political, diplomatic or judicial spheres, or in any branch of administrative or ecclesiastical service, as well as those distinguished in scientific fields, writing and publishing, fine arts, or as the authors of great works, may be decorated with the rank of Knight.

7. The Gold Medal may be conferred upon those who have excelled in the abovementioned fields, having rendered important service at an elementary level.

8. The Gold Medal may likewise be conferred upon those who have displayed exceptional merit in the fine arts, and those who have introduced new industrial methods, or have introduced extraordinary procedures in the mechanical arts, or have notably improved the fields of agriculture or animal livestock development, or have promoted industry and commerce.

9. At all events, we reserve to ourselves the right to bestow the rank of Knight in the extraordinary instance of one of our subjects having executed a distinguished public project, or reflecting discoveries in one of the aforementioned fields of study.

10. The Silver Medal may be conferred upon those who, though not meeting all the requirements expressed in the aforementioned articles 7 and 8, have rendered worthy projects in the fields described.

11. Those in the military who have rendered distinguished civil service as described in the preceding articles 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and 10 may also be decorated in various grades of the Order.

12. The dispositions of the present law do not abrogate or diminish the effect of other sovereign resolutions established to reward merits in the fine arts or manufacturing; on the contrary, those so rewarded may be considered for the Gold or Silver Medal of this Order.

13. The rank of Knight Commander or Knight, as well as the Medal in Gold or Silver, may be bestowed upon worthy individuals according to the level of their service, in recognition of rare and virtuous merits demonstrated toward the Throne and the State.

14. Those Knights who continue to render distinguished service of such importance as to merit further consideration may be rewarded by us with bestowal of the rank of Knight Commander or Knight Grand Cross. On the same basis, those who have been decorated with the Gold Medal may be rewarded with the rank of Knight, and those decorated with the Silver Medal may be rewarded with the Gold Medal.

15. Our Ministerial Secretaries of State, regardless of their department, and our Lieutenant General in Sicily, shall advise us, through our Ministerial Secretary of State for the Royal Household, of the names, qualities and merits of those our subjects who have rendered services which should be recognised by decoration with a grade of the Order, including that of Knight Grand Cross; we shall reserve to ourself the ultimate decision to recognise merits such as are described by the present law.

16. The Knights Grand Cross shall have the privilege of entry into the Throne Room, and may attend Court dinners and royal receptions. They may display the cross of the Order in their places of business and in their coat of arms.

17. The Knights Commander shall have the privilege of attending Court dinners and royal receptions.

18. The Knights may attend royal receptions.

19. We reserve to ourself, according to the circumstances, and according to the nature and importance of services rendered by the individual decorated with the Order, to assign a pension as we see fit. Such pensions shall be paid from the Royal Purse until such time as we decide it opportune to establish a fund for the Order.

20. The insignia of the Order shall be a cross enameled white between four gold fleurs-de-lis, bearing a centre medallion upon which appears our cipher F.I., surmounted by the royal crown, encircled by an oak wreath enameled green, this encircled by a blue band bearing the legend De Rege optime merito in gold letters, the medallion bearing on the reverse the inscription Franciscus Ius instituit MDCCCXXIX, encircled by an oak wreath enameled green.

21. The decoration of Knight Grand Cross is the cross described herein, surmounted by a gold crown, suspended from the neck by a wide watered (moire) ribbon of deep red bearing at each edge a narrow blue stripe. The insignia of Knight Grand Cross also includes a badge to be worn attached to the left breast of the jacket. The said badge shall consist of the same cross as the neck decoration but of silver rather than white enamel, displaying between its arms four fleurs-de-lis, bearing at its centre a medallion upon which appears our cipher F.I., surmounted by the royal crown, encircled by an oak wreath enameled green, this encircled by a blue band bearing the legend De Rege optime merito in gold letters.

22. The decoration of Knight Commander is similar to that described in Article 20, except that it is slightly smaller, surmounted by a gold crown, suspended from the neck by a ribbon slightly narrower than that of the neck decoration of Knight Grand Cross.

23. The decoration of a Knight is similar to that of Knight Commander but slightly smaller, surmounted by a gold crown, suspended from the lapel buttonhole of the jacket by a ribbon slightly narrower than that of the neck decoration of Knight Commander.

24. The Gold and Silver Medals shall bear on the obverse our likeness in profile encircled by an oak wreath, this encircled by the legend Franciscus I. Reg. utr. Sic. Hier Rex; bearing on the reverse three fleurs-de-lis, one in chief and two in base, encircled by an oak wreath encircled by the legend De Rege optime merito MDCCCXXIX. The Medal is suspended from the lapel buttonhole by a ribbon slightly narrower than that of the decoration of Knight.

25. The precise measurements of the decorations and ribbons are indicated in a design which accompanies the original document of this decree.

26. The conferral of the aforementioned honours and awards shall be made by effect of royal rescript by our Ministerial Secretary of State for the Royal Household.

27. Our being desirous that no form of endeavour that could benefit the public good in some way be ignored, even if its merits have not been made known to the public, and wishing that such worthy activities which influence society, however indirectly, be recognised by this Order, we have determined that the Medal of Civil Merit instituted 17 December 1827 shall no longer be conferred for services rendered expressly to the benefit of the King and the State, recognition of such services being addressed instead by the present law.

28. To that end we authorise the competent administrators to make known those deserving recognition with the awards mentioned in Article 27, submitting the relevant proposals and documentation to the office of the Ministerial Secretary of State for the Royal Household or, in Sicily, to the office of the Lieutenant General, who will forward these to the former. The names of those thus honoured, as well as the services for which Our Royal Person has determined that they be recognised, shall be published in the official gazette of this Kingdom.

29. The affairs of the Order shall be managed by a Deputation composed of a President (who shall be a Knight Grand Cross), two Knights Commander and two Knights, one of whom shall serve as secretary and archivist. We shall nominate the members of the Deputation on the recommendations of our Ministerial Secretary of State for the Royal Household. Specific regulations shall establish the duties and internal functions of the Deputation.

30. As this Deputation shall depend upon the aforementioned Secretary of the Royal Household, it shall answer directly and exclusively to him.

31. In bestowal of the Order, we shall rely upon the advice of the Deputation, whose responsibility it shall be to examine and consider the merits of the worthy services mentioned in Article 27.

32. The expenses of the Delegation, and of certain decorations which it shall please us to present gratis, shall be drawn from the funds existing for our royal orders of knighthood under the Royal Secretariat and the Ministerial Secretary of State for the Royal Household. We desire and command that this our law signed by Us and ratified by our Counselor Minister of State and Ministerial Secretary of State of Grace and Justice, given under our great seal, registered and deposited with the Ministry and Royal Secretariat of State of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, be published in our royal dominions by the competent authorities, who shall ensure accuracy of publication and timeliness in dissemination. Our Counselor Minister of State and President of the Council of Ministers is particularly charged with the duty of its publication. —Given at Naples this 28 day of September 1829.

Signed, FRANCESCO