Order of the Eagle of Este

The Order of the Eagle of Este is a knighthood order of the dynastic house of Duchy of Modena and Reggio, a former sovereign state before the Italian unification.

Order of the Eagle of Este
Ordine dell'Aquila Estense
Order's medal
Awarded by Duchy of Modena and Reggio
TypeChivalric order with three degrees
Established27 December 1855
Awarded forFaithful civilians and officers and distinguished foreigners
Statusformer order
FounderFrancis V of Modena
GradesGrand Cross
Next (higher)None (highest)
Next (lower)Cross of Seniority of Service

Ribbon bar of the Order

The Order was instituted on 27 December 1855 by Francis V of Modena, Duke of Modena and Reggio, to reward the services and the merits of faithful civilians and officers. The order was established under the protection (patronage) of Saint Contardo of Este, a maternal ancestor of the founder (House of Este), and protector of Modena.[1]


The order is divided in three classes:

  • Grand Cross
  • Commander
  • Knight

The class of Grand Cross was limited to a maximum of ten members, the class of Commander to twenty members, and the class of Knights to sixty. Foreigners appointed into the Order were counted as supernumerary knights, not affected by these limits.

All grants provided personal noble status to the recipient. If this was mentioned in the letters patent, it could also be hereditary.

The "Royal Parish of the Court" served as Church of the Order.

Knight Commander Grand Cross

The insignia

The medal of the order consisted of a white-enameled cross border of "overseas azure", subdivided in eight "golden-balls" points. In the middle was an azure shield with a white eagle in its center, antique symbol of the Este. In the superior part of the shield, one can read the motto PROXIMA SOLI, and the inferior part, the data of foundation MDCCCLV. At the back, the shield shows the Saint Contardo's effigy with the inscription: S. CONTARDUS ATESTINUS. Between the four arms of the cross, four golden cursive letters, to form the word E S T E. The cross is surmounted by a trophy for the military class, by an oak crown for the civilian class, and a royal crown for foreign knights.

The ribbon is white bordered with sky-blue stripes.

The founder, Francis V, continued to grant the Order, even in the years of his exile.


  1. Crespellan i, Arsenio (1893). Medaglie Estensi ed Austro-Estensi (in Italian). Coi tipi della Società tipografica modenese.
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