The Royal Aragonese Order of the knights of St. George and the Double Crown
There is ample evidence and proof, in the archives of Aragon preserved in the Royal Chancery in Barcelona, that in the Fourteenth Century three Orders of chivalry flourished under the Kings of Aragon.
These Orders were those of the Correa / Correja or Sash / Band which may have had its origins in the Order of the Band of Castille (1330); the Order of the Knights of Saint George (1371-1379) which should not be confused with the Order of Saint George of Alfama, a totally separate Order; and the Order of the Double Crown or Corona Doble (circa 1390). In the case of the Order of the Double Crown, there are letters written by Martin I on this subject and also orders to his Chamberlain and to his goldsmith; there exists also part of the statutes.
In the case of the Order of the Knights of Saint George, the complete statutes have come down to us.
In 1990, after much deliberation, H.R.H. Don Roberto II Paternó Ayerbe Aragona, Duke of Perpignan, Pretender to the Royal Crown of Aragon and to the Titles which had descended from his ancestors and forbears, decided that it would be appropriate that there should be a supreme Order of chivalry comparable with those of the Garter, of the Golden Fleece and of the Saint-Esprit, which would be limited to a few Knights of one single class and which would be of the highest integrity and standing; he also considered that it should be an Order of such a type as could be conferred on the Heads of other Royal Houses.
His Royal Highness ordered that those who had been nominated to be Commissioners should examine all the aspects of the material available in order to be able to offer advice and suggestions and to put forward drafts of the statutes for His examination.
It was thought that all three Orders of the Sash, of the Knights of Saint George and of the Double Crown should be revived; that they should be amalgamated with one another in a single grand Order; and that new statutes for the Order should be produced.
The Order consists of a Sovereign, a Grand Master, not more than twelve Knights (also called Companions), twelve Squires (one for each Knight), and four Officials: a Prelate, a Chancellor, a King of Arms and a Gentleman Usher. In addition there may be an unlimited number of Supernumerary Knights and Dames, who are members of the Royal House of Aragon or are the Heads of other Royal Houses.
The Sovereign of the Order is supreme in all respects and may modify the Statutes at His pleasure, but the Grand Master who is customarily the Infante the Duke of Gerona is in all respects subordinate to the Sovereign and cannot act without His express authority.
item 1. The Sovereign is always the Head of Name and Arms of the dynasty of Paternó of Paternó Castello Guttadauro Ayerbe Aragona di Carcaci d’Emmanuel. He alone may nominate members of the Order as well as Supernumerary Knights and Dames of the same Order. All acts relating to the Order shall go out with His assent.
item 2. The Grand Master is nominated by the Sovereign. He may carry out all the acts of the Sovereign, but only after having received specific written authorization. In procession he walks in front of the Sovereign.
item 3. The Knights (or Companions) may not be more than twelve in number. They choose their own Squires and put them forward for the consideration of the Sovereign, who nominates them if they seem to him appropriate. In procession the Knights (or Companions) walk in front of the Officials of the Order and behind the Squires.
item 4. The Officials of the Order, who are four in number, are as follows:
- The Prelate. He is customarily an Archbishop, Bishop or Abbot, and at least not less than a Monsignor and Priest of the Holy, Catholic, Apostolic and Roman Church. He has care of the spiritual affairs of the Order, of the celebration of its Holy Mass and its Solemn Te Deum. In the event of his absence or incapacity he may nominate a Chaplain to stand in for him. In procession he walks before the Grand Master and on the right of the Chancellor.
- The Chancellor, who may be a Knight (or Companion) of the Order, has charge of its Seal and the Archives of the Order (including those of a heraldic nature). He is responsible for obtaining all the written orders from the Sovereign, for drawing up and affixing the seal to those nominations made by the Sovereign and of notifying the other Officials that this has been done and is done by himself. In procession he always walks to the left of the Prelate and behind the Gentleman Usher; should he also be a Knight, he nevertheless walks in the company of the Officials.
- The King of Arms, who may be a Knight but must always be possessed of a noble title, is responsible for maintaining the registration of the Arms and the genealogies of all the members of the Order. He directs the processions and ceremonies of the Order. He is assisted by the Gentleman Usher, who takes his instructions from him. The quality of King of Arms is not incompatible with membership of the Royal College of Aragonese Arms. In procession he walks before the Prelate and to the right of the Gentleman Usher. Should he not be a member of the Royal College, he may never put on the tabard for the ceremonies of the Order, but will always wear the mantle of an Official.
- The Gentleman Usher, who is the fourth and most junior of the Officials and who may be a titled or untitled Aragonese nobleman, assists the King of Arms. In procession he walks before the Chancellor and on the left of the King of Arms.
item 5. The Squires are young Aragonese noblemen, who may be titled or untitled and who are limited to twelve in number (one for each Knight). They are chosen by the Knights, usually from among their sons or close relatives and are presented to the Sovereign to be considered. They should be between 14 and 21 years of age. In procession they walk in front of the Knights and behind the Officials of Arms of the Royal College of Aragonese Arms who may be invited to participate.
item 6. The Supernumerary Knights and Dames wear the same mantles and the same insignia as the Knights (or Companions), but do not take their places with them in procession. In processions they are to be behind the four Officials of the Order and immediately in front of the Grand Master.
item 7. The King of Arms of the Order may request, through the hierarchy, the presence at ceremonies of the Heralds and Attendants of Arms of the Royal College of Aragonese Arms: on such occasions the Officials of the Royal College wear their tabards and never the mantles of other Orders even if they be Aragonese. In procession they walk at the head, under the orders of the King of Arms of the Order and the Gentleman Usher.
item 8. The robes and insignia of the Order are as follows:
- The Sovereign shall wear a mantle of heavy damask or brocade of white silk lined with silk of ultramarine blue. The mantle should carry the star of the Order of 20cm. diameter embroidered at the height of the heart. The mantle should reach the ground and have train of 2 meters which is born by a page.
- The Grand Master wears the same mantle as the Sovereign without the train and without the star: the cross of red, 20cm. high and wide with the Double Crown embroidered in gold at its center, is to be positioned at the height of the heart.
- The Knights (Companions) and the Supernumerary Knights and Dames as also those members of the Royal Family of Aragon decorated with the Order wear the mantle as in the preceding article.
- The four Officials of the Order wear a mantle of light blue satin lined with white. This is further distinguished by a small shield at the breast 12 cm. high bearing the red cross of the Order with the Double Crown embroidered in silver. An exception to this may be the Chancellor who, in the even that he is a Knight of the Order, may wear the mantle prescribed.
- The Squires wear a short cape of a material which is not silk, lined with blue silk, cut in a circle and long enough to reach down to the wrists when worn. The cape bears on its left a red cross 12cm. high with the Double Crown in silver.
item 9. The decoration of the Order is identical for all Members and consists of a silver star of eight points, 8 cm. in diameter, having at its center a cross enameled in red on a white field, the whole contained within a buckled gold belt forming a circle. At the center of the cross there is the Double Crown of gold. The Members of the Order also wear the sash – from the left shoulder to the right flank – from which is hung the decoration of the belt with the red cross. The sash is of white silk, 11 cm. wide.
The officials of the Order do not wear the star or the sash, but rather the enameled decoration suspended from the neck by a chain. The Chancellor may wear the normal insignia, should he be a Knight.
item 10. The Order is placed under the protection of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the sole Ruler of Princes, and is in honor of Our Lady the Blessed Virgin Mary and of Saint George. The principal Feast of the Order is the last Sunday of October; the two others which are celebrated are those respectively of Our Lady and Saint George.
item 11. The Double Crown commemorates the union of the Catalan-Aragonese Empire with Sicily; the white mantle symbolises Purity and the blue lining is in honor of Our Lady; the red cross is of Saint George, the archetype of the Knights, and venerated in Catalonia.
Having seen the Report of the Commissioners and having given it due consideration;
Being of the opinion that We have need of a supreme Order of chivalry, as the Jewel of the Aragonese Crown, to shine above all other similar Orders that there may be in Aragon,
We have decreed and We decree
1. That the Report is accepted.
2. That the ancient Aragonese Orders of the Band (Sash), of the Knights of Saint George and of the Double Crown (Corona Doble) are to be revived, amalgamated and reconstituted in one single Order.
3. That the name of the Order shall be The Royal Aragonese Order of the Knights of Saint George and the Doyble Crown, with the abbreviated description: Saint George and The Double Crown.
4. That the Statutes of the Order are those annexed to this present Decree.
5. That this Order shall have precedence over all other Orders of chivalry.
6. That the Grand Collar of the Military Order of the Collar of Saint Agatha of Paternó, conferred up to this date, shall be equal in quality, rank and precedence with Saint George and the Double Crown.
Given at Our Seat of Exile in Catania, signed by Our Hand and sealed with Our Seal, today the 5th February 1990, the twenty-first of Our Reign.
(signed) ROBERTO P.
Certified as a copy in conformity with the original:
The Governor of the Royal House of Aragon