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Significant Clarification of Honors from the Rwandan Crown


August 2, 2016 -- Since April of 2016, a few minor errors were found in the original Guidance for Honours, along with increased historical support for the work. Thus, an updated document is necessary. In the event that the signed copy differs from any text on this website, the signed Guidance for Honors (seen below) triumphs.

Guidance for Honors




Guidance for Honours in the De Jure Kingdom of Rwanda



This document is retroactive to January 29, 1961, the day after Rwanda became a republic, in addition to being applicable to future grants. If an individualized Letters Patent differs from this official Guidance, the individual Letters Patent will triumph solely for persons in the individual Letters Patent alone. This official Guidance applies both retroactively and in the future to all grants where any of the below aspects of a Royal grant were or are not specifically defined in the Letters Patent.



Titles of Nobility

Titles of nobility in the Kingdom of Rwanda historically consisted of the rank of Chief and Sub-Chief, but this was expanded by His Most Christian Majesty King Mutara III Rudahigwa so that there were five degrees of Chief. This was noted by Rwandan historian Father Alexis Kagame in his papers, and the King built a small but more European-style palace in Rwanda and began incorporating European-style clothing into the Royal garb by 1940. H.M. King Mutara III performed this change prior to his untimely death in 1959, and he was in the process of revising the honours system of Rwanda to more closely align to a continental European system. As the fons honourum of the de jure Kingdom of Rwanda and an anointed King, His Most Christian Majesty King Kigeli V has the full legal right to create new traditions within his Kingdom and also finish the work previously began by his half-brother, Mutara III. Under this legal right as a fons honourum, His Most Christian Majesty declares the following:


Duc or Duchesse

Marquis or Marquise

Comte or Comtesse

Vicomte or Vicomtesse

Baron or Baronne



Orders of the Royal House




The Orders of the Drum, Crown, Crested Crane, and Lion have been officially registered with the government of Vatican City in 2007. This does not mean that that they have Papal recognition. Rather, it means that they were recorded there with an equivalency of notarization by the former President of the Pontifical Commission for Vatican City State. The registration was presided over by Cardinal Edmund Casimir Szoka and witnessed by Father Allen Duston on January 22, 2007. Previously, upon ascending the throne in 1959, H.M. King Kigeli V registered the existence of the Orders with the Vatican through the Foreign Missions Office in Paris, France, and sought the blessing of H.H. Pope John XXIII in doing so. Again, this was not Papal recognition but rather a registration of the Orders.


Royal Order of the Drum of Rwanda

Royal Order of the Crown of Rwanda

Royal Order of the Crested Crane of Rwanda

Royal Order of the Lion of Rwanda



Royal Guard


The Royal Guard is a historical continuation of a ceremonial guard that provides protection and service to H.M. the Mwami. Within the modern context of a title and honour, a grantee into the Royal Guard receives a hereditary knighthood or dameship, but the recipient does not belong to an Order. The Royal Guard is junior to all the official Orders of the de jure Kingdom of Rwanda. Nobility is not conferred upon the grantee.

Royal Guard

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