Order of the Holy Spirit (L'Ordre de Saint-Esprit)
Founded in 1578 the Order of the Holy Spirit was preserved for the nobility and eventually came to replace - or at least compete with - the Order of Saint Michael which had hitherto been the dominating order. Whereas the Order of Saint Michael had become so widespread that it became devalued in the eyes of the King and court, the Order of the Holy Spirit was to remain only for the nobility. To further enhance the order's prestige the number of knights were limited to 100.
To become a knight of this order you had to be at least 35 years old, be Catholic and be able to produce a noble lineage back at least three generations. However, there were some exceptions. The sons of the King were automatically knights of the Order of the Holy Spirit from birth but would first be initiated into the order at age 12. Princes of the blood could enter the order at 16 while foreign princes had to be at least 25.
The actual order is based on a cross with a white dove flying downwards. Surrounding the dove is a smaller green cross; between each wing of the cross is a fleur-de-lis.
The Order of the Holy Spirit was permitted to use white wax on their correspondence which was allowed no other orders.
The order in portraits:
|Charles Gaspard Guillaume de Vintimille de Luc,|
Archbishop of Paris
Order of Saint Louis (Order de Saint-Louis)
The Order of Saint Louis was created in 1693 by Louis XIV. Every officer who had served 10 years in the French army would become a member of the Order of Saint Louis - here no noble lineage was required. The Dauphin was automatically a member. There were three ranks within the order: chevalier (no limited number), commandeur (limited to 24 people) and grand-croix (limited to 8 people). This could also only be awarded to Catholics.
Like the Order of the Holy Spirit, the Order of Saint Louis was set on a Maltese cross with Saint Louis in the centre holding a laurel crown in one hand and a crown of thorns in the other.
Fun fact: Axel Fersen was one of the foreigners who were awarded the Order of Saint Louis
The order in portraits:
|Jean-Victor de Rouchechouart, Duc de Mortemart is wearing the|
Order of Saint Louis
Orders as seen in portraits:
|Louis XV wearing the star of the Order of the Holy Spirit and the Order of|
the Star (L'ordre de l'etoile)
|Jules-Hardouin Mansart wears the Order of Saint Michael|