5 February 1783. The new Order of St Patrick

On 5 February, 1783 a royal warrant was issued to George Grenville (who then signed himself Nugent Buckingham) authorising him to arrange for letters patent under the great seal of Ireland to create a new Order of St Patrick. Although the patents were apparently not issued, the order received the Royal signature on 28 February and the first Chapter was held on 11 March, at which Nugent Buckingham invested himself Grand Master.

John_Keyse_Sherwin_order_st_patrick_cropped_500Portrait of investiture by John Keyse Sherwin

The aim of the order was reward those in high office in Ireland and Irish peers who supported the government. It served as the national Order of Ireland, similar to the Garter in England and the Thistle in Scotland.

The original number of Knights of St Patrick was fifteen plus the Sovereign. This was increased to 22, plus the Sovereign, on the visit of George IV to Ireland in August 1821. The Knights wore mantles of sky-blue satin, and the star of the Order was embroidered in silver on the right breast.

The original Knights were:
Nugent Buckingham (the Lord Lieutenant is a Knight by virtue of office)
Prince Edward, fourth son of George III
William Robert, Duke of Leinster
Henry, Earl of Clanricarde
Randal William, Earl of Antrim
Thomas, Earl of Westmeath
Murrough, Earl of Inchiquin
Charles, Earl of Drogheda
George de la Poer, Earl of Tyrone
Richard, Earl of Shannon
James, Earl of Clanbrassil
Richard Colley, Earl of Mornington
James, Earl of Courtown
James, Earl of Charlemount
Thomas, Earl of Bective
Henry, Earl of Ely

The Order lapsed nearly two hundred years later in 1974 with the death of the last surviving recipient, Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester.

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