Danish Decorations on a new stamp issue represent a rich country’s history

April 10th, 2015

FindYourStampsValue.com hurries to inform that Danish Post has issued a special set of stamps depicting gorgeous Danish decorations. The philatelic release consists of two stamp designs that were unveiled on the 14th of March.

The tradition of bestowing decorations and medals goes back many hundreds of years. The decorations have survived the transition from absolute monarchy to democracy and have undergone very few changes. Consequently, receiving one of the Danish decorations or medals is seen as a great honour by many people. Denmark has two royal orders of chivalry, the Order of the Elephant and the Order of Dannebrog.

The Medal of Merit is the oldest existing award medal in Denmark. Even though the administration of orders and medals is handled by the Chapter of the Royal Orders of Chivalry in Copenhagen, it is the reigning monarch, HM The Queen Margrethe II, who, as head of the orders, owns and bestows them. The stamps can thus be seen as a marking of HM The Queen's 75th birthday in 2015.

The Order of Dannebrog was instituted by King Christian V in 1671 during the time of absolute monarchy. As can be seen from the stamp, Christian V's monogram still features at the centre of the white-enamelled cross, while the monogram of the reigning monarch is depicted above the cross. Initially, the circle of knights was limited to Danish royalty and noblemen – commoners did not come into consideration.

Not until 1808 did Frederik VI widen the circle of those decorated with the Order of Dannebrog to include commoners. Today, Danish commoners constitute by far the largest group of those decorated. In 1951, Frederik IX directed by ordinance that women could also be decorated with the Order of Dannebrog on an equal footing with men.

The history of the Medal of Merit dates back to 1792 when it was instituted by King Christian VII as a reward for meritorious public service. Today, the Medal of Merit is primarily given for at least 40 years of uninterrupted civil or military employment to public servants who would not normally qualify for a knight's cross, In step with the growth of the public sector, the Medal of Merit is conferred quite frequently, approx. 1,200 times a year.

The medal is silver, on the front bearing a profile portrait of HM the Queen and the Latin inscription, "MARGARETA II – REGINA DANIÆ" (Margrethe II – Queen of Denmark), engraved on the edge of the medal. This indicates that – unlike the Order of the Elephant and the Order of Dannebrog badges on the reverse is the word "FORTIENT" (MERITED), surrounded by a wreath of oak leaves. The recipient's name is – the medal remains the property of the recipient.

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Tags: #Denmark