WELCOME to the Website of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor
For over fifteen hundred years, the honour of Knighthood has been bestowed by our Sovereign on those who have given particular service to the nation. For centuries, that service was usually in arms, as reflected by the designation Knight Bachelor (probably deriving from the Norman French battalere, meaning one who fought on the battlefield) and by the installation as a Knight being effected by the imposition of the royal sword to the shoulder of the individual being honoured.
Those who serve in the armed forces continue to serve the nation; but service now also takes other forms. Consequently, men who are distinguished for their service in fields including the arts, medicine, law, education, commerce and public service are identified in Her Majesty The Queen’s Birthday and New Year’s Honours Lists as worthy of the designation of Knight Bachelor; and, over the coming months, they are summoned to one of the Royal Palaces to receive the accolade and insignia from Her Majesty or His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales on Her Majesty’s behalf.
Partly as a result of the antiquity of the designation, Knights Bachelor do not have their own Order. The Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor was founded in 1908 – being granted the title Imperial by His Majesty King George V – to act as the Registry for Knights Bachelor and to uphold the dignity of the designation. In addition to keeping a Register of all those granted the honour, the Society, a registered charity, now for example maintains the Chapel of Knights Bachelor in St Paul’s Cathedral where it holds its Annual Service of Dedication, and provides guidance and advice on protocol and in relation to the use of the designation.
Thus, the Imperial Society maintains the modern spirit of Knighthood, and its members – all Knights Bachelor – continue their tradition of service.