Order of the British Empire
GBE (Knight/Dame Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire)
KBE (Knight Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
DBE (Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
CBE (Commander of the Order of the British Empire)
OBE (Officer of the Order of the British Empire)
MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire)
This Order was instituted by King George V on 4 June 1917 and is conferred for important services rendered to the Crown. It is awarded to both men and women, and it consists of the Sovereign, the Grand Master (presently HRH The Duke of Edinburgh) and five classes as listed above. In 1918 the Order was divided into military and civil divisions.
Appointments to the Order are made on the recommendation of the Minister of Defence, the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, and the appropriate Minister of State for Commonwealth countries in respect of the military division, and the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs in respect of the civil division.
Mantles are worn at all investitures of the Order and upon certain appointed occasions by Knights and Dames Grand Cross. The mantles are of rose pink satin (since 1937) lined with pearl grey silk, and fastened with a cordon of pearl grey silk, with two rose pink and silver tassels attached.
The collar is made of gold, and consists of six medallions depicting the Royal Arms, alternating with six medallions depicting the Royal and Imperial Cypher of George V ("GRI", which stands for "Georgius Rex Imperator"). The medallions are linked with gold cables depicting lions and crowns.
The collar is worn by Knights and Dames Grand Cross of the Order of the British Empire on 'Collar Days', 34 designated days throughout the year on which the collar may be worn. Most of these are Feasts of the Church, from New Year's Day to Innocents' Day on 28th December. The remainder are royal anniversaries: The Queen's accession (6th February), The Queen's birthday (21st April), the Restoration of the Monarchy in 1660 (29th May), The Queen's Coronation (2nd June), and the Duke of Edinburgh's birthday (10th June).
The Order's motto is 'For God and the Empire'.