The order of the Rose was founded by the Emperor Dom Pedro I. on October 17, 1829, on occasion of his second marriage to Amalie Princess of Leuchtenberg. Dom Pedro I. who was besides his epileptic seizures a tough character and had several mistresses. This may be the reason why his first wife, Leopoldine of Austria, deceased rather young, not even 30 years old, in 1826. They had five children together, among them Maria Gloria, later Queen of Spain, and Dom Pedro, who would be Dom Pedro I. successor, called Dom Pedro II. 

After the death of Leopoldine of Austria, Dom Pedro I. went to Europe looking for a new wife. Due to his history and the influence of the Austrian chancellor Count Metternich a proper woman couldn't be obtained. Therefore his mistress, at this time still living at the Brazilian Court, was send away and negotiation with the Bavarian court Pedro got engaged to Amalie von Leuchtenberg, a daughter of the former Vice King of Italy, Eugen de Beauharnais. He was made the Duke of Leuchtenberg by his father in law King Maximilian von Bayern.

Two days after the engagement, October 17, 1829, the Order of the Rose was founded. Some say the order was founded due to Pedro saying: "...beautiful as a rose", looking at Amalie. The other theory was the fact that Amalie liked the Rose's very much and he surprised her giving her a diamond set grand cross badge upon her arrival in Brazil. The last version should be the correct one.

Fact is the precise planning of this order, proven by countless design drawings. The bear dates on them starting 4 weeks before she arrived in Brazil.

avers cavaleiro cross

reverse cavaleiro cross

The order was awarded in 6 different grades.

On April 6, 1831, Dom Pedro went into exile with his daughter Maria Gloria and his wife to Spain and gave his power to his underage son Dom Pedro, now Dom Pedro II. The 5 year old was substituted by a council until he turned 15 July 15, 1840. During 1831 and 1840 no order was awarded. Afterwards the order was awarded quite often, since Pedro had a strong connection to his mother. Therefore the Order of the Rose became the most important in Brazil. In addition to this the order was even more popular then the classical Brazilian orders, as the order of the Southern Cross, due to its pretty designs. The Grand Duke of Russia, how was listed for the Grand Cross of the higher Order of The Southern Cross, during a visit of Dom Pedro II. in Russia asked the Emperor of Brazil for the Order of the Rose after being given his Grand Cross set. Being asked for the reason, he answered that the Rose Order had the more elegant design. Needless to say, that he was given both orders.

After the revolution in 1889 the emperor of Brazil left his country. He diseased in Paris December 5, 1891.

The order of the Rose is still a very attractive decoration and quite rare. Looking at the number of awards it is quite clear, that certain classes are pretty difficult to obtain:

  limits due to statues total number of bestowals

Pedro I


Pedro II


Grão Cruz   7 157
efetivo 8    
honorario 8    
Grande Dignitario 16 11 73
Dignitario 32 11 288
Commendador unlimited 27 1572
Oficial unlimited 14 4118
Cavaleiro unlimited 119 8937

 The Grão Cruz efetivo was worn with a collar of 54.5 cm length.

There are a number of different manufactures for this order. The main manufacture was Kretly in Paris and Wolfers in Brussels. This made it difficult to determine the sizes of the different badges of the order. Mr. G. Tammann came up with the following measurements in [mm]:


badge star ribbon
  height x width

point to point 


height x width

point to point 


Grão Cruz         101 (sash)
efetivo 112x64 73 + crown 90x76 76 + crown  
honorario 112x64 73  + crown 90x76 76  + crown  
Grande Dignitario 89x52 59  + crown 85x72 72 + crown

60 (neck ribbon)

since 1856 101 (sash)

Dignitario 55x50 55 72x72 72 60 
Commendador 70x41 46  + crown



53  + crown

54  + crown

60 (neck ribbon)

Oficial 43x43 43





35 (brest ribbon)

60 (neck ribbon)




31 + crown

38  + crown

no star 35 (breast ribbon)


Compared to other decorations during this time frame , the order of the rose was of rather small diameter. The picture of the Bavarian officer Maximilian Freiherr von Speidel showing a Commendador decoration looks in comparison to his German decorations he is wearing on his medal bar equal in size:



Other manufactures are:

  • da Costa, Lisbon

  • Lemaitre, Paris

  • Resse, Rio de Janeiro

  • Rothe Vienna

Unfortunately there is no way of making the differentiation between the decorations awarded under Dom Pedro I. and Dom Pedro II. Even though the crown was different, the change was not shown in the design of the decoration. The only reliable basis is the French control mark law. French made pieces made during the regency of Dom Pedro I. show sometimes a ram (belier) mark if in gold and the hare (lievre) mark if in silver (gilt). During Pedro II's period the corresponding French marks are the eagle (aigle) and the boar (sanglier).

The following pictures show a Grand Dignitario Set made during the 2nd period under Dom Pedro II. The cross is marked with the eagle punch mark for golden pieces.



avers of the grand dignitario cross


reverse of the grand dignitario cross


detail of eagle mark

star of the grand dignitario

© A. Schulze Ising, XII/00