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  • Notable Dates

    Notable dates in the history of the imperial society

    1908 - Foundation of the Society of Knights Bachelor at a meeting held at 31 Essex Street, Strand on 27th April. Constitution, regulations and bye-laws adopted.

    1909 - Letter dated 20th March 1909 received from the Home Office officially recognising the Society.

    1910 - Petition for Royal Warrant first mooted, not pursued as too few members in the Society and no permanent abode.

    1911 - The Company of Knights Ltd formed to purchase Clifford's Inn as a permanent home for the Society.

    1912 - Royal assent given by HM King George V for the Society to be called The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor. Proposal adopted that a Knights' Benevolent Fund be formed to provide for impoverished dependents of deceased Knights.

    1914 - First design for the Insignia of The Society adopted as follows: ‘Azure (blue) a Knight's helm proper plumed with three feathers Gules (red) Argent (silver) and the first between two spurs Or' (gold).

    1917 - Resolution to petition for a grant of arms on a second design for Insignia of The Society as follows: ‘A golden spur on a red enamel ground surrounded by a green wreath of laurel or a silver star'.

    1918 - Funds for the Company of Knights Ltd not being forthcoming and Clifford's Inn occupied by the Army, offices were established at 2 Mitre Court, The Temple.

    1919 - The Company of Knights Ltd wound up.

    1926 - Authority given by Royal Warrant, dated 21st April, HM King George V for a breast badge to be worn.

    1927 - Lease of chambers of 21 Old Buildings, Lincoln 's Inn taken as offices.

    1932 - No action having been taken on the formation of a Knights' Benevolent Fund, the proposal was rescinded.

    1933 - An alternative smaller Breast Badge authorised by Royal Warrant.

    1939 - Proposal made for a Knights Bachelor Chapel.

    1962 - Amendment to Regulations of Constitution. Decision taken to have Knights Bachelor Chapel at St Bartholomew-the-Great. Service attended by HM The Queen and HRH The Duke of Edinburgh, followed by a reception at St James's Palace.

    1971 - Grant of Arms to the Society made by the Kings of Arms and recorded in HM College of Arms.

    1973 - Extension of Insignia for Knights Bachelor granted by Royal Warrant of HM The Queen, by inclusion of neck badge and ribbon, with miniature also.

    1975 - HM The Queen granted her Patronage to The Imperial Society. The New Zealand Government, with the approval of HM The Queen, agreed to meet the cost of life membership for New Zealand Knights Bachelor. New robes for Council taken into use.

    1977 - Chapel Charity name changed to The Knights Bachelor Foundation, with broader objectives.

    1978 - The Lady's brooch instituted, exclusive to families of members of the Society.

    1980 - HM The Queen honoured the Society by her presence at a reception at Goldsmiths' Hall. Organ Appeal Fund launched, originally to be a memorial to Sir John Russell.

    1985 - HRH The Princess Royal honoured the Society with her presence at the Annual Service, followed by a reception at St Bartholomew's Hospital. Appointment of first Honorary Deputy Knight Principal.

    1986 - Decision made not to petition for a Royal Charter. Revised Rules adopted 12th May. The Society accorded charitable status, charity number 294638, 5th August. First edition of newsletter Chivalry produced.

    1988 - Formation of Knights' sunfund for individuals or families suffering hardship or distress and for which no other funds are available. HRH Princess Michael of Kent honoured the Society with her presence at a dinner at Plaisterers' Hall.

    1989 - Formation of the Scottish Division of the Society under the chairmanship of Sir Maxwell Harper Gow.

    1990 - HM The Queen honoured the Society with her presence at a reception at St James's Palace.

    1992 - HRH The Duchess of Gloucester honoured the Society with her presence at the Annual Service of Dedication and the reception which followed at The Butchers' Hall.

    1993 - HRH The Duchess of Kent honoured the Society with her presence at the Annual Service of Dedication.

    HM The Queen signing the Register of Knighthood after the Annual Knights' Service in 1996.
    HM The Queen signing the Register of Knighthood after the Annual Knights' Service in 1996.
    HRH Princess Alexandra with members of the Council in 2000.
    HRH Princess Alexandra with members of the Council in 2000.

    1994 - HRH The Princess Royal honoured the Society at an annual Dinner at The Savoy.

    1996 - The Queen honoured the Society with her presence at a service at the church of St Bartholomew-the-Great when the ceremonial sword ‘Chivalry' was consecrated by the Prelate and received by Her Majesty. HM was the Society's guest at a reception at the Butchers' Hall.

    1999 - The Banner of the Imperial Society was consecrated by the Prelate, and subsequently hung in the Knights' Chapel.

    2000 - A new cross and candlesticks were consecrated by the Prelate and placed on the altar in the Knights' Chapel in the presence of HRH Princess Alexandra GCVO who was accompanied by the Hon Sir Angus Ogilvy KCVO .

    HM The Queen signing the Register of Knighthood after the Annual Knights' Service in 1996.

    2002 - The Knight Principal, the Registrar, and the Treasurer of the Imperial Society joined the knights of the Statutory Orders in procession at the Golden Jubilee Service of HM The Queen in St Paul's Cathedral. New Jubilee Mantles were designed for this occasion and then taken into use for the Council.

    2003 - New badges for the Officers were created to the design of 1912. The pennon of the Imperial Society was consecrated by the Prelate at the Annual Service.

    blueplaque1

    2005 – The office moved to 1 Throgmorton Avenue, London.

    2005 – The Society's Chapel at Saint Bartholomew- the-Great was closed and work began on the new Chapel of the Knights in St Paul 's Cathedral.

    2008 – The Centenary of the Foundation of the Imperial Society and the unveiling of a Blue Plaque at the site of 31 Essex Street, London, WC2 where the Society was founded (27th April 2008).

    2009 – The Centenary Dinner, in the presence of HRH Prince Michael of Kent, was held at Goldsmiths' Hall (2nd November 2009).

    2013 - The Society's office moved to Magnesia House, Playhouse Yard, Black Friars, a Grade II listed building dating from the early 18th century. Our new landlord is The Society of Apothecaries.

    2015 - The Society held an Agincourt Dinner at Armourers' Hall, to commemorate the 600th anniversary of the battle. The guest of honour were Field Marshal the Lord Guthrie of Craigiebank and Professor Anne Curry.

    2016 - The Society held a banquet at Apothecaries' Hall to celebrate HM The Queen’s 90th Birthday. Sir Roy Strong spoke on the subject of the Two Elizabeths.

    2018 - The dedication of the painting Martin Divides his Cloak, painted by Hughie O'Donoghue, a member of the Royal Academy. The painting was dedicated by The Bishop of London on Thursday 19th July 2018 at our Annual Service and is displayed behind the altar in the Knights’ Chapel in the Crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral. In November, the Society held a banquet at The House of Lords. The speaker was Professor Sir Paul Nurse, FRS, Director of the Francis Crick Institute. In December, the Society held a Carol Service at The Queen's Chapel of the Savoy, and event which will now be held annually.