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Badge of the Order of Saint-Esprit

First half of the 19th century

Gold, enamel; l of chain 22.3 cm, h of cross 8 cm, w 6.3 cm

The order was instituted by the last French king of the Valois family, Henri III, in December 1578, supposedly to mark his election to the Polish throne, which took place on the feast day of the Holy Trinity. His real reason for creating this order was that he wanted the leaders of the Catholic Church, who had joined the League headed by Henri de Guise, to rally round him. The order was alleged to consist of 100 knights who had sworn an oath of allegiance to the king and the Catholic faith.

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