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Decorations

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation is responsible for awarding decorations corresponding to the Order of Isabella the Catholic and to the Order of Civil Merit.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation is responsible for the protocol corresponding to the Order of Isabella the Catholic and to the Order of Civil Merit.

Decorations of the Order of Isabella the Catholic

The Order of Isabella the Catholic was set up by King Fernando VII on 14 March 1815, then known as the Royal American Order of Isabella the Catholic. It is currently governed by Royal Decree 2395/1998, of 6 November 1998, approving the Regulation of the Order of Isabella the Catholic and seeks “to reward extraordinary conduct of a civil nature by Spanish and foreign individuals to the benefit of the Nation or that significantly contribute to fostering relations of friendship and cooperation between the Spanish Nation and the rest of the international community”.

His Majesty the King is the Grand Master of the Order of Isabella the Catholic and hence all the decorations of this Order are conferred in his name.

The Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation is the Grand Chancellor of the Order, and it falls to her to propose to the Council of Ministers the award of the levels of the Collar and of the Grand Cross, and to award, on behalf of His Majesty the King, the lower levels of the Order.

The Under-secretary for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation is the Chancellor of the Order, and the Directorate-General for Protocol evaluates all the proposed awards of the decorations of this Order and requests the mandatory reports.

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Decorations of the Order of Civil Merit

The Order of Civil Merit was set up by King Alfonso XIII under the Royal Decree of 25 June 1926 to reward “civic virtues of public servants in the service of the State, along with extraordinary services of Spanish and foreign citizens to the benefit of the Nation”. Royal Decree 2396/1998, approving the Regulation of the Order of Civil Merit, is the regulation currently applicable to this Order, which nowadays seeks “to reward merits of a civil nature of those people attached to a public authority (…) or people who are not attached to a public authority but that have provided or provide important services to the State, with extraordinary works, beneficial initiatives or exemplary constancy in the fulfilment of their duties”. It can also be granted to foreigners “if they have provided distinguished services to Spain or significantly collaborated in all those matters that are beneficial to the Nation”.

His Majesty the King is the Grand Master of the Order of Civil Merit and hence, in the same way as the Order of Isabella the Catholic, all the decorations of this Order are conferred in his name.

Similarly, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation is the Grand Chancellor of the Order, and it falls to her to propose to the Council of Ministers the award of the levels of the Collar and of the Grand Cross, and to award, on behalf of His Majesty the King, the lower levels of the Order.

As in the case of the Order of Isabella the Catholic, the Under-secretary for Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation is the Chancellor of the Order of Civil Merit, but it corresponds to the Directorate-General for Protocol, Chancellery and Orders to evaluate all the proposed awards of the decorations of this Order, requesting the mandatory reports and evaluating the suitability or not of accepting these proposals.​