of the Star of Romania
The Order of the Star was the first Order
instituted by the country
of Romania after it became an independent state. The Order was
by high decree HR 1108 on May 10, 1871.
The construction of the Order was patterned after the
(Ordinul Unirii) established by Ion Alexandru Cuza, Prince of the
Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, during the period
After the abdication of Prince Cuza, Carol, the second
son of Prince
Charles Anthony of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen (1848-85), was offered and
accepted the position of Prince of Romania. Once Romania was self
proclaimed an independent state, Carol I (Prince 1866-1881, King
instituted the Order of the Star in five grades, Knight, Officer,
Grand Officer and Grand Cross. This Order was also in the shape
a Byzantine cross of dark blue enamel edged in silver or gold gilt
by rays of irregular length and surmounted by a Royal Crown. On
obverse there is a center medallion surrounded by a green enameled
of oak leaves. The center medallion has an outer dark blue enamel
band within which the inscription "IN FIDE SALUS" is printed in gold
with three gold stars at the base of the ring. Contained within
ring is a dark red enameled ring with a gilt eagle standing on a
lightning rod. On the reverse, the center medallion is again
by green oak leaves; however, with a red enamel center bearing the year
1877 in gilt. The ribbon consisted of red moiré with two
stripes on the edges. The Order had different insignia for
consisting of two crossed swords between the insignia and crown or two
crossed swords above the Byzantine cross. The peace Medal was
without such swords. The peace Medal was part of the original
Decree and the swords were authorized later on August 10, 1881.
Awards exist having crossed swords both between the arms
of the cross
and also above it. Such an award indicates the recipient was
with merit during peacetime and subsequently during wartime.
Knight and officer insignia are distinguished not only
by the addition
of a 25-27 mm. rosette on the officer ribbon but also by the officer
being gold gilt and the knight insignia being silver gilt.
Appointments to the Order and promotions within the
Order were made
following a specific criteria to reward civil service to the State and
outstanding bravery during wartime. Decorations were awarded one
class or grade a year depending upon the number of vacancies in such
or grade. The proposals were submitted to the Chancery of
The limitations on issuance did not apply in the case of foreign
or persons decorated motu proprio by the King. Another exception
to the authorized numbers of issuance was that male members of the
family upon turning 18 were entitled to the Grand Cross Order of the
Posthumous awards were allowed.
The Order of the Star was headed by a Great Master who
was the King
assisted by a chancellor, the foreign minister and an honor council
made up of four members appointed by the King. Any controversies
concerning the Orders were settled by the Chancery who also kept the
of the Order and issued certificates.
The holder of an Order of the Star could be banned or
the Order by a Royal Decree. Reasons included but were not
to breaking of the law, disloyalty in the case of civil servants,
with disgrace or a serious offense tried by a counsel of honor in the
of civil awards. Military awards of the Order of the Star were
only in cases of high treason or desertion.
Beginning in 1932 a provision was added that established
to return the insignia in case of promotion, death or exclusion,
this regulation was not enforced. On May 9, 1932 the design of
Order was altered by replacing the rays between the arms of the
cross with an eagle with widely spread wings between each arm.
center of the obverse medallion was also changed from the eagle
on a lightning rod to the gold gilt cipher of Carol I. The ribbon
was changed to red moiré having a silver border. In 1938
ribbon was again changed to red moiré bordered by a gold stripe
and two silver stripes.
On February 12, 1937 a new grade called the First Class
and its priority was between the Grand Cross and Grand Officer.
The Grand Cross, Grand Officer and First Class awards
consisted of a
badge and a breast star. The Byzantine cross and rays (1st type)
or outstretched eagle wings (2nd type) were repeated on the breast star
and in addition surrounded by an eight pointed star (Grand Cross and
Officer) or four pointed star (First Class).
Members of the Order were limited in numbers as follows:
During World War I Romania was associated with the
During World War II, Romania first allied itself with Germany and after
the coup d'etat by King Michael in 1944 ousting Marshal Ion Antonescu
power, Romania joined the Allied powers. British military and
personnel were awarded Orders of the Star during the First World War
German officers were awarded the Order of the Star during the Second
The Order of the Star could also be awarded as a
Several ships of the Royal Romanian Navy received a unit citation in
for their service in WW II.
The Knight and Officer insignia were worn by civilians
on the left lapel
and by military on the left side of the uniform. The Commander
and Grand Officer insignia were worn at the neck. The Grand Cross
of both types and the First Class of the Type 2 Order were worn with
badge on a sash worn over the right shoulder and the breast star on the
left side of the dress coat or uniform.
Miniatures and ribbons were authorized by
the Grand Cross, First Class and Grand Officer grades were not allowed
to be miniaturized.
Known manufacturers of the first type of the insignia
are Kretley of
Paris, Zimmermann of Pforzheim, and Resch and the National Mint of
Known manufacturers of the second type are Souval of
of Pforzheim and Resch, Weiss and the National Mint in Bucharest.
Serial numbers were not often encountered, but have been
the type 2 Grand Cross, Grand Officer stars and badges and on some of
type 2 Commander Badges.
Most of the insignia were without hallmarks; however,
hallmarks were known to exist:
ARG, IR, JRF-Resch
CFZ - Zimmermann
NM - National Mint Romania
RS - Souval
HW, BW - Weiss
Image of a Swan - believed to be Kretley.
The hallmarks are normally found on the cravat tie ring
or ribbon ring.
On the stars, the hallmarks are found on the pin bar. An oval
plaque is also often found on stars made by Resch and Weiss.
Other than the rosettes on the officer grade of the
insignia, an additional
device on the ribbon consisted of two crossed swords on the Officer and
Knight grades which were awarded to those serving during the War of
On June 26, 1943, King Michael instituted the addition
of an oak leaf
as a ribbon device which was awarded to solders who were wounded in
on three or more occasions. The oak leaf consisted of an oxidized
metal stylized oak leaf 28 mm. by 10 mm.
The Royal Romanian Order of the Star became obsolete in
1947 with the
formation of the Romanian Peoples Republic. Both the Romanian
Republic and its successor, the Romanian Socialist Republic, maintained
an Order of the Star in a different configuration. The Order of
Star continues today as an award in the current Romanian government.
Frederick, The Road
to Romanian Independence, (Purdue University Press 1995)
Phaleristik Rumänien (Berlin 1975)
Hannah, The Last
Romantic, (Simon & Schuster 1984)
Prince Paul of
King Carol II, (Michelin House London 1988)
Marinescu. Decoratii Românesti De Razboi (1860-1947) (Bucharest
Neculae, & Dumitrascu.
Romania Decoratii (1859-1991) (Bucharest 1992)