The Royal Order of the Seraphim, also known as “the Blue Ribbon” – is the highest order of chivalry in Sweden, equivalent to the English Order of the Garter. It was established by King Frederick I on 23 February 1748, together with the Order of the Sword and Order of the Polar Star.
According to the original statutes of the Order, the Knights supervised Sweden’s hospitals, orphanages, poorhouses and mental asylums – in particular, the Seraphim Hospital in Stockholm, the construction of which they oversaw in 1752. Through the 18 th – 19 th centuries, together with the Guild of the Seraphim, the Knights of the Order played an important part in improving the life of the underprivileged in Sweden. The Order’s Seraphim Medal is awarded for service to the poor and sick.
The central medallion of the badge and star of the Order is in blue enamel, with white-enamelled letters ‘IHS’ (Iesus Hominum Salvator – Latin for ‘Jesus, Saviour of Mankind’) between three gold crowns – from the coat of arms of Sweden. Beneath them are three gold nails, symbolising Jesus Christ’s crucifixion. On the reverse are white-enamelled letters ‘FRS’ (Fredericus, Rex Sueciae – Latin for ‘Frederick King of Sweden’), commemorating the founder.
The Royal Order of the Seraphim, Order of the Sword, Order of the Polar Star, and Order of Vasa, all form the Orders of His Majesty the Swedish King, which currently is King Carl XVI Gustaf. Since the reorganization of the orders in 1974, the Order of the Seraphim is only awarded to foreign heads of state and members of the royal family. The Order has only one class – Knight.