Order Of Leopold (Belgium)
The Order of Leopold (Leopoldsorde in Dutch, Ordre de Léopold in French) is one of the three (current) Belgian national honorary orders of knighthood. It is the highest order of Belgium and is named in honour of King Leopold I. It consists of a military, a maritime and a civilian division. The maritime division is only awarded to personnel of the merchant navy, and the military division to military personnel. The decoration was established on 11 July 1832 and is awarded for extreme bravery in combat or for meritorious service of immense benefit to the Belgian nation. The Order of Leopold is awarded by Royal Decree.
During the Second World War, the Order of Leopold was bestowed on the several officers of foreign militaries who had helped to liberate Belgium from the occupation of German forces. Famous recipients include Brand Whitlock, George S. Patton, Bernard Montgomery, Dwight Eisenhower, and Wesley Clark. The medal was also granted to Josip Broz Tito in 1970.
Membership can only be granted by his majesty, King Albert II and is reserved to the very most important Belgian nationals and to some distinguished foreign persons who contributed in one way to the Belgian military, the Belgian civil society or the Belgian State. Annually, there are two days when the King normally grants membership, on April 8 (King Albert's birthday) and on November 15 (Day of the Belgian Dynasty).
No membership can be granted to a person before the age of 42, except in the military division.
Read more about Order Of Leopold (Belgium): Classes, Insignia, The Association of The Order of Leopold
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