By staff and agencies
The Princess Royal has been appointed Grand Master of the Royal Victorian Order (RVO) by the Queen, Buckingham Palace has said.
The Queen Mother held the position before Princess Anne
Anne, the monarch's eldest and only daughter, is following in the footsteps of her grandmother the Queen Mother.
The position has been vacant for five years since the death of the royal matriarch in 2002.
The Order was founded by Queen Victoria more than 100 years ago in 1896 to reward those who had served her personally.
Its honours are bestowed independently of Downing Street as a personal gift of the Queen.
Recipients often include Palace servants.
The monarch is the Sovereign of the order of chivalry and its next most senior member is the Grand Master.
A service for RVO members takes place in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, today, followed by a reception in the state apartments.
The Royal Victorian Order is an order of chivalry that was established by Queen Victoria (external - login to view) on 21 April (external - login to view)1896 (external - login to view). The Order includes five classes, in order of seniority:
- Knight Grand Cross or Dame Grand Cross (GCVO)
- Knight Commander or Dame Commander (KCVO or DCVO)
- Commander (CVO)
- Lieutenant (LVO)
- Member (MVO)
The Order's day is 20 June (external - login to view), the date of Queen Victoria's accession. The motto is Victoria. The Order is the second-most junior order of chivalry in the British honours system (external - login to view) (in terms of both age and precedence), senior only to The Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (external - login to view). The Order is the fourth-most senior order in the Canadian honours system (external - login to view), senior only to the Order of St. John (external - login to view).