Decorations of Luxemburg
Honor Legion of Luxemburg
The Éierlegioun vu Lëtzebuerg, the grand duchy's oldest and highest decoration, was established by Napoleon I in 1808. It was a part of a series of actions by Napoleon to establish a separate set of national institutions for Luxemburg. The award was a virtual clone of his Légion d'honneur in France - a profile of the Grand Duke at the center of a star with 5 pommel points, supported by a laurel wreath. The sashes and ribbons were red.
Napoleon established three ranks: Knight Legionnaire, Knight Commander, and Knight Grand Cross. Membership in the legion was to be awarded for valor or exceptional service to Luxemburg. During his reign, and even more so during that of Napoleon II, the Legion was granted to relatives and political allies who had scarcely heard of Luxemburg, much less given it exceptional service.
Napoleon III re-established the Legion in 1849 as part of his program to restore autonomy to the Grand Duchy. In general the third Bonaparte avoided ostentation, hoping to assuage the Luxemburgers' (perfectly legitimate) fears of annexation to France, so the portrait was replaced with a small laurel. In 1865, the new Grand Duke Wëllem I de-Francified the award by placing his own portrait in the center of the star, and replacing the red ribbon with green, backed in gold, representing the Ardennes. The blue circle surrounding the portrait was also changed to green.
By the time Luxemburg finally got a resident Grand Duke, Aedul, Napoleon was coming back into vogue as a symbol of the grand duchy's sovereignty. Napoleon returned to the medal, where he has remained ever since.
The Order of the Gold Lion of Nassau
The Uerden vun den Golden Léiw vu Nassau is an award not of Luxemburg itself, but of the Nassau dynasty, which includes Queen Beatrice of Batavia and the non-reigning Duke Friedrich von Nassau. It was established in 1858 by distant relations Guillaume III of Batavia (also Wëllem I of Luxemburg) and Adolf of Nassau (later Aedul of Luxemburg), who took the ranks of joint Grand Masters of the order.
In 1961 the Grand Mastership was transfered to the non-reigning branch of the family descended from Nikolaus of Luxemburg, who had abdicated his throne a few years earlier. Today, Nikolaus' son Friedrich is Grand Master, and the two reigning Nassau monarchs hold the invented rank of Master.
The award is granted only to royalty, nobility, and heads of state for service to the dynasty.
Order of Adolf of Nassau
Adolf (Aedul) established this order in 1858 when he was still Duke of Nassau. He did not actually name the award after himself, but after a medieval Adolf of Nassau who had been Holy Roman Emperor. It is awarded for brave deeds in defense of the Grand Duke or Duchess, or for service to him or her.
Civil and Military Orders of the Red Lion
Established by the Diet during the reign of Grand Duchess Tréis in 1957. Last in order of precedence, these awards are bestowed for meritorious action that does not quite merit one of the higher orders.