H.E. Dominique Prince de la Rochefoucauld-Montbel in 2012./ Photo: OuestFrance
The Diplomat. Madrid
The final Spanish Cabinet meeting in December bestowed the Knight Grand Cross of the Order of Isabel the Catholic on H.E. Dominique Príncipe de la Rochefoucauld-Montbel, Grand Hospitaller of the Sovereign Order of the Knights of Malta.
This decoration joins those that were approved last July when the Collar and Grand Cross of the Order of Isabel the Catholic were awarded to the Grand Master, the Grand Chancellor and the Ambassador of the Sovereign Order of Malta to Spain.
The Order of Malta, one of the oldest sovereign and military orders in the world, has 13.500 members, King Juan Carlos among them. The historic Order of Malta is a state without territory, a unique case in history, it is a sovereign entity in international law, has its own code of laws and has diplomatic ties with 104 countries. It is headquartered in Rome.
The origin of the Order was founded by the Blessed Gerard in 1048 when merchants from the ancient marine republic of Amalfi were granted permission by the Caliph of Egypt to build a church, a convent and a hospital in Jerusalem to care for pilgrims of any faith or race.
The constitution of the Kingdom of Jerusalem within the framework of the Crusades obliged the Order to take on the military defence of the sick and the pilgrims and to protect its medial centres and the main communication routes. The Order thus added the task of defending the faith to its hospitaller mission. Over time, the Order adopted the white eight-pointed cross which continues to be its symbol to this day.