Order of the Starry Cross

Imperial and Royal Order of the Starry Cross
2nd Class of the Order
Awarded by The Head of the House of Habsburg
Type Order of knighthood for women
Royal house House of Habsburg
("Hail and Glory")
Sovereign Crown Prince Karl of Austria
Grand Mistress Archduchess Gabriela of Austria
Grades (w/ post-nominals) Dame, Special Class
Dame, 1st Class
Dame, 2nd Class
Established 28 June 1868
Next (higher) Imperial and Royal Order of Leopold
Next (lower) Imperial and Royal Order of Franz Joseph
Same Imperial and Royal Order of the Iron Crown
Ribbon of the Order

The Order of the Starry Cross (or Order of the Star Cross/Star Cross Order; German: Sternkreuz-Orden) was founded by Eleonora Gonzaga of Mantua, dowager empress of the Holy Roman Empire, in 1668. This all female order was confirmed by Pope Clement IX, June 28, 1668, and was placed under the spiritual management of the Prince Bishop of Vienna. Only high-born ladies could be invested with the Order, including “princesses, countesses, and other high nobility.” Once invested, members were to “devote themselves to the service and worship of the Holy Cross, and to lead a virtuous life in the exercise of religion and works of charity.”

According to legend, the Habsburg dynasty owned a piece of the True Cross on which Jesus was crucified. Though it is impossible to prove its authenticity, the holy relic was set in gold and worn by at least two Holy Roman Emperors, Maximilian II and Ferdinand III. Ferdinand III’s last consort, Empress Eleanora, was given the relic by her stepson, Emperor Leopold I, after Ferdinand’s 1657 death. In the aftermath of a fire at the Hofburg on February 2, 1668, the relic was discovered in near perfect condition. The dowager empress founded the Order in celebration that the relic had survived the fire, believing it to be a true miracle.

In 1881 the Empress accorded multiple Noble Ladies of the royal Belgian court the Starry Cross, after the egagment of Archduke Rudolf. [1]

Members of the Order wore the following insignia:

"An oval medallion, with a broad blue enameled border, inclosing a black enameled Eagle with two heads, and claws, both of gold, on which lies a Gold Cross, enameled green, and bordered with brown wood. Over this, on an intwined (sic) wreath in black letters, on a white ground, is the motto of the Order, "Salue et Gloria” – (Hail and Glory.) It is worn, pendent to a strip of black riband (sic), on the left breast."


Grand Mistresses

Insignia of the Order

Current administration

According to the website of the Archdiocese of Vienna,[5] the order is ruled by :


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