Newly Installed King George I Orders That an Oath Substitute His Name For That of Deceased Queen Anne

He requires that oaths of the Royal Order of the Thistle do so, and makes some changes in the Order to place his own stamp on it

The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is an order of chivalry associated with Scotland. The current version of the Order was founded in 1687 by King James II of England who was also James VII of Scotland. The Order consists of the Sovereign and sixteen Knights and Ladies,...

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Newly Installed King George I Orders That an Oath Substitute His Name For That of Deceased Queen Anne

He requires that oaths of the Royal Order of the Thistle do so, and makes some changes in the Order to place his own stamp on it

The Most Ancient and Most Noble Order of the Thistle is an order of chivalry associated with Scotland. The current version of the Order was founded in 1687 by King James II of England who was also James VII of Scotland. The Order consists of the Sovereign and sixteen Knights and Ladies, certain additional knights, and members of the British Royal Family and foreign monarchs. The Sovereign alone grants membership of the Order; he or she is not advised by the Government, as occurs with most other Orders. After King James was deposed in 1688 the Order, his successors, the joint monarchs William and Mary, did not make any further appointments to the Order, which became dormant. Queen Anne resurrected the Order in 1703.

Despite Queen Anne having had 17 pregnancies, not one resulted in a child that lived more than a year. Thus she had no heirs. To avoid a battle over the succession after her death, in 1701 Parliament pass an act settling the succession on the descendants of Electress Sophie of Hanover, who was a granddaughter of King James I and a committed Protestant. On August 1, 1714, Queen Anne died, but Sophie had predeceased her by two months. This left the Kingship to George the Elector of Hanover. George was immediately proclaimed King of Great Britain and Ireland. He arrived in Britain on September 18 and was crowned King George I on October 20 at Westminster Abbey. He then set about governance and conducting the business of the British monarch.

Since so much in Great Britain was and is done in the name of the monarch, one of the necessary measures was to replace all references to Queen Anne with George’s own name, in oaths of allegiance, on coinage, etc. The Order of the Thistle was one of these.

Document signed, “our Court at St. James”, February 17, 1715, “in the first year of our Reign”, being an “additional statute” for the Order of the Thistle, and providing: “That the words of the oath contained in the statutes signed by Royal sister and cousin the late Queen Anne of blessed Memory…and appointed to be taken by the Knights Brethren and Officers of said Order, be Lord George in place of Lady Anne. That the form of the oath to be taken by the usher of the said Order be the same as appointed…” George then makes some changes in the robes and decorations of the Order, and continues: “That all orders and rules and statutes relating to the said most Noble Order which have been heretofore made and appointed by Her said late Majesty Queen Anne and not altered by the above are hereby confirmed.”

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