Once I was a clever boy learning the arts of Oxford... is a quotation from the verses written by Bishop Richard Fleming (c.1385-1431) for his tomb in Lincoln Cathedral. Fleming, the founder of Lincoln College in Oxford, is the subject of my research for a D. Phil., and, like me, a son of the West Riding. I have remarked in the past that I have a deeply meaningful on-going relationship with a dead fifteenth century bishop... it was Fleming who, in effect, enabled me to come to Oxford and to learn its arts, and for that I am immensely grateful.

Friday 25 March 2011

Order of the Annunziata

Italy has just been celebrating the 150th anniversary of the proclamation of the united Kingdom in 1861 - which still excluded Venetia (1866), the residual Papal State(1870) and the Trentino (1919). The modern republic included in its invitations members of the House of Savoy, led by Prince Emmanuel Philibert.

The Aosta branch of the House recently attended a usus antiquior Mass in the Pantheon in Rome - burial place of the Kings of Italy - and pictures can be seen here of that occasion.

The Mad Monarchist recently had some reflections on the House of Savoy and Italian unification which can be read here. Like him I see the problems of the Savoys stemming from a dangerous alliance with forces in the process of unification which were essentially hostile to the principle of monarchy and the traditions it represented. Politically it was a case of riding a tiger.

Again as he points out since 1946 the dynasty has not been without its problems, and there is now the dispute as to who is the heir to King Umberto II - outlined in a link from the second of the sites listed infra.

I am writing about this today because the oldest and most distinguished Order of the Savoyard-Italian monarchy was that of the Supreme Order of the Most Holy Annunciation. With a predecessor founded in 1350, and a virtually continuous history from 1362 it is second only to the Garter in antiquity amongst European orders of chivalry.

There is an article about it, with links to ones on the other Savoyard royal orders here, and another, more detailed one, from which have taken the pictures of the insignia here. It has links to articles about the dispute as to the succession. There is a third article here, from the American group of the Savoy Orders, which has illustrations and more about the history of the Order.

The star of the Order

The star of the Order

The design can be seen more clearly in this example

The Collar and star of the Order of the Annunciation

Image: Almanach de la Cour

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