Over the past decade we have noticed a rampant increase in the number of people who are wearing their orders, decorations and medals incorrectly. The cadre of people who flagrantly violate the official rules on how you are supposed to wear your medals ranges from the average veteran right up to current and former Governors General. Indeed, there is much evidence to suggest that the higher the rank of the individual the more likely they are to just wear whatever they want, however they want. We like to think of this as “Instant Dictator Syndrome” or self-aggrandizement at its most obvious.

Why do people wear their medals incorrectly? Often it is because they simply do not know any better. If you are one of these people you should consult WEARING ORDERS, DECORATIONS AND MEDALS which is available from the Chancellery of Honours at Rideau Hall. This guide will help you figure out how you are supposed to wear your officially granted orders, decorations and medals.

When it comes to wearing your medals incorrectly the worst offenders tend to be former Governors General, Lieutenant Governors and retired Generals. When these people – all in authority and all surrounded by staff who know better – wear their medals wrong they are obviously suffering from the dreaded Instant Dictator Syndrome. The attitude accompanied with this most severe condition is “the more medals I wear the more important I will look.”

This simple blog is aimed at revealing the myriad of fellow Canadians who cannot seem to wear their medals correctly.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Medal Quiz

The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee saw nearly 60,000 Canadians recognized with the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in recognition of various services. Never have so many commemorative medals been bestowed, and this has naturally resulted in all sorts of breeches of protocol.

Rather than simply post photos of the offenders along with explanations of what they are doing wrong it is time for you to do the actual work. Some of these are quite easy. Test your knowledge of wearing your medals correctly against the following photographs. Feel free to use the new Wearing Guide and CF Dress Manual (A-DH-265) to spot the offenders, some of whom are committing multiple errors. Not every person represented here is an offender!

Honorary Captain (N) Sona Bata

 Question 1

             a) nothing

       b)    should be wearing a breast star

       c)     wearing full size medals in mess dress

       d)    should be wearing a white pique vest with RCN mess dress

The Hon. John Crosbie,
former Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador

Question 2

       a)     too many neck badges

       b)    breast star is too high

       c)     medal bar not regulation length

       d)    nothing

The Hon. David Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario
at the Opening of Queen's Park for a Throne Speech

Question 3

       a)     nothing
       b)    wearing Knight of St. John neck insignia on a medal bar     

       c)     medals mounted too high

       d)    too many lapel pins

The Hon. David Onley
as Hon. Colonel of the Queen's York Rangers

Question 4

       a)     not wearing orders, decorations and medals he is entitled to

       b)    nothing

       c)     wrong collar dogs

       d)    needs a swagger stick

Question 5

       a)     wearing Alberta Order of Excellence in a medal bar group

       b)    medal bar too long

       c)     medal bar not long enough

       d)    wrong bar on the France and Germany Star

HRH the PRince of Wales being presented with a book during the
2009 Royal Visit by a senior officer in the Canadian Coast Guard

Question 6

       a)     RCMP officer in middle should be wearing medals, 
not just an undress ribbon

       b)    Coast Guard Officer wearing an unrecognized 
medal at the end of his group

       c)     A & B

       d)    nothing

Former OPP Commissioner Julian Fantino
Question 7

       a)     Order of Ontario not included in miniature medal group

       b)    Bar on the Police Exemplary Service Medal 
          in the wrong place

       c)     Order of Ontario should be worn from a miniature 
         ribbon around neck

       d)    A & C

Isabelle Butters, CM, SOM, being invested with the Diamond Jubilee Medal by the Lieutenant Governor of Saskatchewan

Question 8

       a)     Investitures are an occasion when only miniatures 
       should be worn

       b)    Recipient is wearing Saskatchewan Order of Merit on her medal bar when it should be on a bow or around neck

       c)     Too many medals

       d)    Swing mounting is not permitted anymore

 Brigitte, Duchess of Gloucester, GCVO.

Question 9

       a)     nothing

       b)    Wearing miniatures with full size insignia 
       during the daytime

       c)     The insignia on the yellow bow is not recognized

       d)    B & C

The great leaders of North Korea's military.
Question 10

       a)     Too many breast stars

       b)    Not enough neck decorations

       c)     Pantaloons should be covered in breast stars

       d)    This is the DPRK, anything is possible!

Answer Key: c,d,b,a,a,c,d,b,b,d.


  1. The contents has provided meaningful information thanks for sharing info
    lapel pins

  2. Sorry - answer 6A is off base. The right shoulder aiguillette notes the centre Mountie as the AdeC to HRH. AdeC's take their dress NOT from the event, but from the Principle. If HRH isn't tasked with medals for the event - the AdeC does NOT wear them. .

    While normally you've been spot on, this item is a protocol item, not a medal wearing item.

  3. I would have say that I have never seen a RCMP in ceremonial uniform (red serve) simply wearing ribbons. I should ask a RCMP inspector collegue of mine if it is authorised practice (but simply rare to see).