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The E-Sylum:  Volume 9, Number 21, May 21, 2006, Article 27

ORDER OF THE BATH

This week Reuters reported on the quadrennial awarding of
the famous Maltese cross medals for the Order of the Bath:

"Anyone who thinks pomp, pageantry and arcane rituals have
disappeared from modern British life should have been at
Westminster Abbey Wednesday, where Queen Elizabeth oversaw a
ceremony of the Order of the Bath.

In a rite dating back to at least the 12th century, the Queen
"installed" eight new knights."

"The knights, all senior figures from the British military and
intelligence services, had the order's distinctive badge -- a
silver eight-pointed Maltese cross -- pinned to their robes.

The ceremony happens every four years, and the Queen attends it
every eight years. It goes largely unnoticed, but this year's
ceremony came amid growing discontent over the way honours like
knighthoods are awarded."

"The Order of the Bath gets its peculiar name from its origins
in the Middle Ages, when knights bathed on the eve of their
investiture as a symbol of spiritual purification.

A document from 1128 describes how one knight "immersed his body
in a bath and was afterwards habited by the attendants in crimson
robes, while a sword was girded about his body and golden spurs
placed upon his heels."

The order all but disappeared in the 17th century but was revived
in 1725 by King George I and has been investing new knights ever
since. It opened its doors to women in 1971."

To read the complete article, see: Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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