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May, 05, 2014 - August, 31, 2014

Hungary, Budapest, Hungarian National Museum, Jozsef Nador Halls

Organized by:
the Hungarian National Museum, Moscow Kremlin Museums

The Moscow Kremlin Museums take part in exhibition project carried out by the Hungarian National Museum to mark the 250th jubilee of the foundation of the Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary. The exhibition explores the history of the order, the circumstances of its foundation, its insignia and the place occupied by the order within the awards system of the Habsburg Empire through various historical relics:  archival documents, paintings and drawings, badges and crosses, portraits of significant figures, invested with the order's insignia.

The Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen was established on the 5th of May 1764 by the Empress Maria Theresa of Austria as a national order of Hungary and served as one the highest distinction for civil service and merit.  Its membership was available to members of the Hungarian nobility. Having been named in honour of Saint Stephen I, the first king of Hungary, who is considered to be the founder of the Hungarian state and one of the most renowned figures in Hungarian history, the order has its legend-motto «Publicum Meritorum Praemium» (Public testimony of merits).

Some insignia of the Order of Saint Stephen of Hungary at the exhibition are on loan from the Moscow Kremlin Museums: the star and the badge, which belonged to Emperor Nicholas I of Russia.

An attempt to establish a long-term political alliance of the Russian Empire with Austria and Prussia was made in 1799 when Grand Duchess Alexandra Pavlovna of Russia got married to a younger brother of the Emperor Franz II — Archduke Joseph Anton of Austria, the Palatine (Governor) of Hungary. Such diplomatic relations involved the procedure of decoration of members of the royal family with foreign orders as well as the conferment of the Order of St Andrew the First Called in return. In accordance with that tradition, the Alexandra's brother, Emperor Nicholas I received insignia of the Royal Hungarian Order of Saint Stephen after his accession to the throne in 1826.