Knight Bachelor

Knight Bachelor

Knight Bachelor
The insignia of a Knight Bachelor devised in 1926
Awarded by

Sovereign of the United Kingdom
Awarded for the monarch's pleasure
Status Currently constituted
Sovereign Queen Elizabeth II
Established 11th century
Next (higher) Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE) and Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE)
Next (lower) Lower-level judges et al.
Ribbon for a Knight Bachelor

The appointment of Knight Bachelor (Kt) is a part of the British honours system.

It is the most basic and lowest rank of a man who has been Orders of Chivalry. Knights Bachelor are the most ancient sort of British knight (the rank existed during the 13th century reign of King Henry III), but Knights Bachelor rank below knights of the various orders.

There is no female counterpart to Knight Bachelor. The lowest knightly honour that can be conferred upon a woman is Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (DBE) – which, technically, is one rank higher than Knight Bachelor (being the female equivalent of 'KBE' or Knight Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire, which is the next male knightly rank above Knight Bachelor). Also, there are no honorary Knights Bachelor for foreigners; instead they are made honorary KBEs.


  • Criteria 1
  • Honorifics and post-nominals 2
  • Insignia 3
  • Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor 4
  • See also 5
  • Notes 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


It is generally awarded for public service; amongst its recipients are all male judges of Her Majesty's High Court of Justice in England. It is possible to be a Knight Bachelor and a junior member of an order of chivalry without being a knight of that order; this situation has become rather common, especially among those recognised for achievements in entertainment. For instance, Sir Elton John, Sir Bruce Forsyth, Sir Ian McKellen are Commanders of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBEs), as was Sir Christopher Lee. Sir Patrick Stewart is an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (OBEs), and Sir Paul McCartney is a Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (MBE). None of them would be entitled to use the honorific "Sir" by virtue of their membership of the order alone, but as they are all also Knights Bachelor, they are entitled to preface their names with that title.

Honorifics and post-nominals

Like other knights, Knights Bachelor are styled "Sir". Since they are not knights of any order of chivalry, there is no post-nominal associated with the award.[1] However, when the style "Sir" is awkward or incomplete due to a subsequent appointment, recipients may sometimes use the word "Knight" or "Kt" (note the lowercase 't', which distinguishes it from "KT", the post-nominals of a Knight of the Thistle) after their name in formal documents to signify that they have the additional honour. This style is often adopted by Knights Bachelor who are also peers, baronets or knights of the various statutory orders (e.g. Sir William Boulton, Bt, Kt).[2][3]


Until 1926 Knights Bachelor had no insignia which they could wear, but in that year

  • Media related to at Wikimedia Commons

External links

  • Insignia of knights bachelor—Website of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor
  • The UK Honours System—Website UK Government
  • Debrett's


  1. ^ "Orders of Chivalry". British Government. Retrieved 2007-08-30. 
  2. ^ "Form of address". Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 
  3. ^ "Knight". Forms of address. Debrett's. Retrieved 17 April 2014. 


See also

The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor was founded for the maintenance and consolidation of the Dignity of Knights Bachelor in 1908, and obtained official recognition from the Sovereign in 1912. The Society keeps records of all Knights Bachelor, in their interest.

Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor

In 1974, Queen Elizabeth II issued a further warrant authorising the wearing on appropriate occasions of a neck badge, slightly smaller in size, and in miniature. In 1988 a new certificate of authentication, a knight's only personal documentation, was designed by the College of Arms.

Upon an oval medallion of vermilion, enclosed by a scroll a cross-hilted sword belted and sheathed, pommel upwards, between two spurs, rowels upwards, the whole set about with the sword belt, all gilt.

terms as follows: heraldic inches in width, it is described in 38 inches in length and 183