On Wednesday, April 15, 2015, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and His Royal Highness The Duke of Edinburgh hosted a luncheon at Windsor Castle for members of the Order of Merit.
According to the British royal court the Order of Merit was:
“…founded by King Edward VII at the time of his coronation in 1902, to be ‘given to such persons, subjects of Our Crown, as may have rendered exceptionally meritorious services in Our Crown Services or towards the advancement of the Arts, Learning, Literature, and Science or such other exceptional service as We are fit to recognize’.
The Order of Merit is in the sole gift of the Sovereign and is restricted to 24 members as well as additional foreign recipients.
The badge is an eight-pointed cross of red and blue enamel surmounted by the imperial crown; in the centre, upon blue enamel and surrounded by a laurel wreath, are the words in gold lettering ‘For Merit’.”
Photo courtesy of Getty Images/WPA Pool