Austrian-Imperial Leopold Order

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Insignia of the Order of Leopold: Star for the Grand Cross with war decoration (above), Order cross of all classes (below)

The Austrian Imperial Leopold Order was founded on January 8,  1808 by Emperor Franz I and until 1918 was a high order for civilian and military services.

Order classes

So-called. Small decoration for the cross I class

The order consisted of four classes:


Emperor Franz I founded the order on the day of his engagement to Maria Ludovika Beatrix of Modena , who was to become his third wife. It had previously been considered to name the order Rudolfsorden (after Rudolf von Habsburg ) or Franzensorden (after the founder), in the end the emperor decided on the name of his father Emperor Leopold II.

The last recipient, Ernst Graf von Silva-Tarouca , received the decoration on November 11, 1918, a few hours before Emperor Charles I renounced his share of state affairs. After the end of the monarchy in Austria in 1918, the order was no longer awarded.

Appearance and wearing style

Regalia of the Leopold Order
Prince Archbishop Anton Joseph Gruscha with the star of the Order of Leopold on his chest


The insignia of the order is an octagonal red enameled cross with paws framed in white . The entwined letters are in the obverse middle medallionFIA( Franciscus Imperator Austriae ), from the order's mottoIntegritati et Merito( For righteousness and merit ) is surrounded. In the lapel the order shows the motto Leopold II.,Opes regum corda subditorum( The deeds of the kings win the hearts of the subjects ) surrounded by an oak wreath . The crosses of the first edition from 1808 show three oak leaves in the cross angles until 1818, which were later removed. The hanging of the insignia on the ribbon is the Austrian imperial crown (so-called house crown of Emperor Rudolf II ) with two waving ribbons.


The ribbon of the Leopold Order is light red with a white border; at the cross I class - light red with white side stripes.

Carrying method

Ordinary knights wore the insignia on a triangular ribbon on the left side of the chest, commanders on the ribbon around their necks . Holders of the Grand Cross or Cross I Class wore the insignia on a wide shoulder band and a breast star. The silver order star is eight-pointed and carries the order cross in its center.

On special occasions, holders of the Grand Cross wore the regalia of the Leopold Order with an order chain . This consists of 16 golden, entwined initialsF. and L., above which the Austrian imperial crown is attached and between which 16 oak wreaths are integrated.

Additional decorations

By decree of January 23 and February 23, 1860, the so-called "war decoration" was created for people who received the Leopold Order for services acquired immediately before the enemy. This consisted of two crossed upwardly curved laurel branches under the imperial crown.

In the course of time, additional decorations were created for the Leopold Order. From December 13, 1916, gold or silver swords could be placed between the arms of the Order's cross and on the star. The gold signifies the acquisition of the current grade with war decorations and swords, the silver ones indicate that the war decoration had been acquired at a lower grade.

The Grand Cross of the Order could also be awarded with diamonds as an expression of the highest favor . From 1808 to 1918 55 people received this award.

Nobility and privileges

Commander's Cross of the Austrian-Imperial Leopold Order, awarded in 1815 by Emperor Franz I to Goethe

Until 1884, subjects of the countries ruled by the Habsburgs were awarded the Knight's Cross of the Leopold Order and raised to hereditary knighthood . The bearers were given the addition "Knight of" to their previous name. Recipients of the commander's cross were entitled to be raised to the hereditary baron class . The award of the Grand Cross brought the privy council title with the salutation "Excellency" and membership in the court . On August 24, 1884, automatic ennoblement was deleted from the statutes of the Leopold Order (decree of the Imperial and Royal Ministry of the Interior ), as well as those of the Order of the Iron Crown .

The ruling monarch acted as grand master of the order .

Abbreviations in the official calendar

In the official calendar and in the military schematics , the acronym ÖLO was used for the Leopold Order, which was extended with R (for knight), K (for commander), GK (for grand cross) or KD (for war decoration). For swords an additional black is added. Example: ÖLO – K KD Schw.

Known porters

See also


  • Christian Ortner , Georg Ludwigstorff: Austria's medals and decorations. Part I: The imperial-royal orders until 1918 , Verlag Militaria , Vienna 2017, ISBN 978-3-902526-81-6 .
  • Austrian Society for Religious Orders (Ed.): 200 years of the Austrian Imperial Leopold Order. Graz 2008
  • Johann Stolzer, Christian Steeb: Austria's order from the Middle Ages to the present. On behalf of the Austrian Society for Religious Studies. Academic printing and Publishing house. Graz 1996, ISBN 3-201-01649-7 , pp. 135-145.
  • Václav Měřička : Orders and decorations of the Austro-Hungarian monarchy. Vienna and Munich 1974.
  • Roman Freiherr von Procházka : Austrian Order Handbook.  I – IV., Munich 1974.

Web links

Commons : Austrian Imperial Leopold Order  - collection of images, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. KuK War Ministry: Military Schematism of the Austrian Empire . From the kk Hof- und Staats-Druckerei., 1850 ( read online in the Google book search).