Introduction

Over the past decade we have noticed a rampant increase in the number of people who are wearing their orders, decorations and medals incorrectly. The cadre of people who flagrantly violate the official rules on how you are supposed to wear your medals ranges from the average veteran right up to former Governors General. Indeed, there is much evidence to suggest that the higher the rank of the individual the more likely they are to just wear whatever they want, however they want. I like to think of this as “Instant Dictator Syndrome” or self-aggrandizement at its most obvious.

Why do people wear their medals incorrectly? Often it is because they simply do not know any better. If you are one of these people you should consult WEARING ORDERS, DECORATIONS AND MEDALS which is available from the Chancellery of Honours at Rideau Hall. This guide will help you figure out how you are supposed to wear your officially granted orders, decorations and medals.

When it comes to wearing your medals incorrectly the worst offenders tend to be former Governors General, Lieutenant Governors and retired Generals. When these people – all in authority and all surrounded by staff who know better – wear their medals wrong they are obviously suffering from the dreaded Instant Dictator Syndrome. The attitude accompanied with this most severe condition is “the more medals I wear the more important I will look.”

This simple blog is aimed at revealing the myriad of fellow Canadians who cannot seem to wear their medals correctly.

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Shimon Peres, GCMG
Let us start with a few examples of people wearing their medals incorrectly. Amusing examples that have been publicly documented in photographs. Here we have Shimon Peres, President of Israel. Peres is wearing the insignia of a Knight Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of St. Michael and St. George (GCMG). It is unfortunate that Mr. Peres failed to read the little card contained in the case that the GCMG was contained in, otherwise he would have probably learned that the sash of the Order is worn over the right shoulder with the badge resting on the left hip. At least he has the breast star in approximately the right place. Sashes are not to be worn as neck ribbons!

Given that a number of Canadian Governors General and Prime Ministers were GCMGs I thought this an amusing example to begin with.
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Her Excellency Marie Bashir, AC, CVO, Governor of New South Wales
Next we have Her Excellency Maire Barhir, the present Governor of New South Wales and a highly accomplished Australian. Like many of her Canadian vice-regal counterparts Her Excellency holds an honorary commission -- Bashir is an Honorary Commodore in the Royal Australian Navy. It is always risky to put civilians in military uniforms, they rarely seem wear them correctly. Her Excellency is incorrectly wearing the ribbon of her insignia of a Companion of the Order of Australia (AC) outside of the collar on her High Collar Whites, and her Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO) is being worn as a breast star on a bow. Now the RAN dress regs are pretty clear that all this is totally incorrect. Her Excellency should be wearing her AC at the neck (with the ribbon hidden under the collar) and her CVO should be on a straight neck ribbon protruding from the second button on her tunic. Does Her Excellency lack an RAN Aide de Camp to help her with such things?

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