Kate & William to receive Tuvalu Order of Merit

Kate & William to receive Tuvalu Order of Merit

Over a week ago, we realized that, according to the official British royal website, The Queen has approved the nomination for Kate Middleton to have a membership to the Tuvalu Order of Merit. I’ve been waiting since then for something to come out in the mainstream press about it, and finally the Express has a story about it. But still very little is known about this honor Kate is to receive, so I’ve scoured the interwebs to find what little information I could.

Kate Middleton Tuvalu Order of Merit March 2017

As we learned back on March 23, the above had been added to Kate’s list of patronages under the Charities and Patronages list of the British royal website: the HMTQ approved the nomination of The Duchess of Cambridge for a membership to the Tulavu Order of Merit in the region of Australia. This note is currently still up online for Kate, but not for William.

Kate and Prince William visited Tuvalu in 2012 from September 18-19 where they: were received at the airport by the Governor-General of Tuvalu; attended a Ceremonial Welcome; visited Nauti Primary School; visited the University of the South Pacific; visited Tuvalu Village; attended a State Dinner given by the Governor-General; and attended a Ceremonial Farewell before flying back to the UK.

The Express has additional information about the Tulavu Order of Merit and how both Kate and William are to receive it.

    “Discussions are under way for William and Kate to be invited to an investiture in London to each receive the Tuvalu Order of Merit in recognition of their 2012 visit to the Polynesian nation of nine tiny islands with a combined population of 11,200 spread over 10 square miles. […]
    “Tuvalu’s honorary consul in London, Dr Iftikhar Ayaz, confirmed that the couple have now been honoured almost five years later to recognise the joy that their visit brought to Tuvalu.
    “‘Whenever they have been reminded about it, they have expressed great affection and love for the country,’ he said. ‘They had a lovely time there. They will remember that visit for a very long time.’
    “Dr Ayaz, who runs the tiny nation’s consulate in Britain from a semi-detached house in Wimbledon, hopes the investiture ceremony will be held soon in a London hotel, or the Commonwealth Secretariat offices in the capital if the Commonwealth Secretary General Baroness Scotland gives permission.
    “‘I have written to the Queen’s private secretary, Sir Christopher Geidt, asking if he will present the Duke and Duchess with the medals,’ he said.
    “He explained that the Order of Merit was his country’s highest award and formed part of a new honours sytem set up last year to be independent from Britain’s twice-yearly awards which previously included people honoured in Tuvalu, one of the 15 overseas realms where the Queen is head of state. The Queen approved the honour on the advice of her government ministers in Tuvalu, who made the awards on the national day, October 1, last year. But it seems nobody outside of the Royal Household noticed until this week.
    “A Kensington Palace official said the royal couple were honoured to have been awarded the Order of Merit.”


The Tuvalu Order of Merit is a new creation, having just been created in 2016. On the occasion of Tuvalu’s 38th Independence Anniversary last October, the Prime Minister gave a speech in which he mentioned the Tuvalu Order of Merit.

    “I want to extend special words of thanks to the Governor General who is representing the Queen of England for providing the special medals, the Tuvalu Order of Merit. Therefore I would like to congratulate all of you who will be awarded with this medal. Thank you for your contributions to the nation, your contributions have been appreciated through this medal.”


The Government of Tuvalu’s 2017 National Budget, which was presented on November 30, 2016, outlined $30,000 for the creation and distribution of the medals under “Goods and Services”. The emphasis is mine.

    “The cost of goods and services are budgeted to increase by $633,110 to $5.6m in 2017, with slight increase projected for 2018 and 2019 in line with inflation. The major items that have increased for 2017 include: provision for housing of health specialists by $73,000; $231,805 for medicine drugs supplies; $30,000 allocated for the Tuvalu Order of Merit; $27,724 for Consumable Medical Supplies; $25,500 for food and nutrition; $20,000 for PMH ration; $20,000 for laboratory supplies; $11,403 for biomedical supplies; $4,419 for dental supplies; $1,876 for radiographic supplies and $13,592 for other PMH supplies. […]
    “Government has committed the following additional resources to policy priorities within the Ministry in the 2017 Budget. The additional funding reflects the impact of the increase in the Governor General Salary and Acting Allowance. Increase funding of $30,000 will be provided for Tuvalu Order of Merits.”

[2017 National Bugdet PDF]

So basically, the Tuvalu government is spending $30,000 in 2017 to create an independent honors system which was established upon the 38th Independence Anniversary in October 2016, and they’ve decided that, among the people who have contributed to Tuvalu that will receive the Tuvalu Order of Merit, they would like to honor William and Kate with the medal as well.

For reference on government spending on Orders, I tried to find out how much the UK government spends on the Orders they give out each year, but I couldn’t find a number for it.

In terms of what kind of honor this is – whether it is an Order like the Order of the Garter or a Medal like the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal – I haven’t found much information. There is a ribbon on offer at the Worcestershire Medal Service, in sizes 38mm (about 1.5 inches) and 32mm (about 1.25 inches), for the Tuvalu Order of Merit. And since Dr. Iftikhar Ayaz in the Express article called them “medals”, I think that the Tuvalu Order of Merit, despite it’s name, is more like a Medal than an Order.

Tuvalu Order of Merit ribbon

So will we ever see Kate wear the Tuvalu Order of Merit? I would be very surprised if we do. Firstly, although I have no confirmation of this, I think the Tuvalu Order of Merit is a medal like the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal, which Kate already has and never wears. Unlike the royal men, the royal women don’t wear their medals – the first photo below from the Afghan Iraq Service of Dedication shows the men wearing their various medals while the women do not wear theirs. So, if this is a medal, we won’t ever see Kate wear it.

Secondly, usually an order from another country is only worn when the royal is either visiting that other country or is hosting representatives from that other country – the second photo below shows Princess Diana not wearing the Netherlands Order of the Crown to the British Opening of Parliament in 1984 even though she received it in 1982. So, if this is an order, unless Kate visits Tuvalu again or participates in a State Visit from Tuvalu, we won’t see her wear it.

Basically, I would be very surprised if we ever saw Kate wear the Tuvalu Order of Merit (so I don’t think this is a cheap way to give Kate something to wear during white tie occasions). I would be less surprised to see it show up among William’s other medals.

40 thoughts on “Kate & William to receive Tuvalu Order of Merit

  1. Sad and a bit pathetic Kate still hasn’t received the Royal Family Order. Makes you think what The Queen thinks of her work ethic.

  2. “Whenever they have been reminded about it”…

    I get it. I have to be reminded of things I have ‘love and affection’ for too.

    1. I love a lot of things I don’t think about or talk about regularly. But whenever I am reminded of those things, I remember how much I love them. For instance, my grandfather. He’s been dead for over a decade and I neither think about nor talk about him regularly, but whenever I am reminded of him I think about how much love I had for him. Another example, movies. There are loads of movies I love that I don’t think about or talk about regularly, but whenever I am reminded of them I think about how great they are. Same for TV shows, or books, or places I’ve visited, or people I used to know.

  3. Wow, those Windsor genes are dominate, Will and his uncle Edward look like brothers! Why is Tuvalu awarding this medal after 5 years and not sooner? Who else has received this medal? Or a William & Kate the first? I wonder whether this a PR exercise to make the lazy duo look like enthusiastic, hard workers.

    1. The medal was just created in Oct 2016. So they didn’t have medals to award in 2012 when W&K visited. I think W&K are the first royals. From what the PM said in his speech he made it sound like other Tuvalu citizens were receiving the medals as well.

      If it’s a PR exercise they did a piss poor job of it since it was royal watchers who noticed first and the Express is the only mainstream outlet to write about it.

      1. Thanks I wasn’t sure whether medals had been awarded last year or whether this year is the first year.

      2. I think it’s a PR exercise on behalf of the Tuvalu nation. It’s a poor, often overlooked country. I remember learning about it during the tour when newscasters had to explain what and where it was. I’m pretty sure Tuvalu is one of the countries earmarked for drowning when ocean levels rise. They’re going to need a lot of international help in the future and by linking their nation’s name to Will and Kate’s media presence, they probably figure they’ve got a better chance at being recognized and getting that help.

        Less that a million dollars for a nation’s budget! I think this is good way to remind the world that they exist, and exist as a member of a large international organization. I only hope William doesn’t try to joke about it.

    1. That msn article is just repeating what the Express article said.

      Aren’t all royals who get orders from other countries basically getting them just for visiting or hosting the country? They are all participation awards. This is nothing new or specific to William and Kate.

      Just this week the Danes got a bunch of new orders just for attending the State Banquet: http://katemiddletonreview.com/2017/03/30/state-visit-round-up-maxima-mary-mathilde/. What did Marie or Joachim do to earn the orders they got from the Belgians? They just showed up to greet them and attended the State Banquet. Felipe and Letizia got orders from Argentina for doing about as much as W&K did in Tuvalu: http://katemiddletonreview.com/2017/02/26/royal-round-up-letizia-camilla-madeleine-charlene/.

      W&K’s Tuvalu Order of Merit is the same as the other royals getting orders from the countries they visit and host. The only odd thing here is that it is so long after the fact and it’s an order we’ve never heard of.

      1. Of course it is the same as other’s receiving an order for just visiting a country. But since this post was just about Will and Kate I was only referencing them and their participation award.

        I don’t think it is odd receiving this so long after they visited Tuvalu since this is a new order, that is why we have never heard of it before. Since this is a new order, giving it to Will and Kate draws more attention to Tuvalu. Also, because it is such a small country they probably have to be more selective on who they give this new order to since there are only so many people on the island.

        I don’t think it is that odd to give it to them in relation to what you found odd since this is a new order (had they had it in 2012, they probably would have received it then). I just find it odd that any royal gets an award for just visiting a country, especially since most of the tours are mini holidays.

      2. Awards for attending a state banquet? Or getting off a plane, saying hello, seeing a couple of places and then a dinner? Why bother at all with such ‘awards’ for any royals? Is it just a self-serving exercise? Does anyone else find that such medals’ visual similarity to military medals suss? I realise that some royal men have seen military service, of course.

        It lacks logic in the non-royal world where awards are bestowed for excellence, for achievement or service to society and/or country. There has been no evidence of service to others here, though to be fair, W+K did more than attend a banquet. The only equivalent close to the royal medals I can think of is the tendency these days to give all children participation ribbons so as to shield them from disappointment, and reality.

        The sum of $30,000 is quite a lot to spend when you see it against the list of medical supplies that have less resources allocated. If a country is to give an award, surely people who have contributed to the betterment of the country should be top of the list? As every Aussie reading this will recall, our ex-PM awarded a knighthood to Prince Phillip in 2015, an act resoundingly ridiculed by pretty much everyone and a contributory factor to his being dumped as PM.

        1. That’s the part that stood out to me too. That less monetary resources were allocated to food and medical supplies- esp for a small island which is rapidly going underwater and it’s citizens will be facing the food shortages and medical problems brought about due to increased warming and flooding.

          And besides, what good does it do for Tuvalu to give these medals to WK? Increased tourism? Man, most tourists couldn’t even get to the country that easily by air or sea, so how it would boost tourism?

          Royals are a ridiculous bunch. Making up all these orders and wearing them to make themselves look important. I’d be happy to see these Royal houses go the way of the dinosaurs, in my lifetime.

        2. We’ve discussed these honors, medals and other shiny things before on this site. It seems that their purpose is to give the RFs of the world something shiny to wear so they look more important in photos. I agree that they do look like military medals (which are earned rather than awarded) and that irritates me.

        3. I thought that too plus you could combine the the lab, biomedical, and dental supply cost and it would be cheaper than their medals.
          The obviously wanted to do this for some reason but could they not do cheaper medals and I would think they could spend their budget on more important things

  4. I think those medals and some of the orders are less an award and more like a guest gift. Like bringing a bottle of wine for dinner. It is more a gesture of friendship and looks nice and “important”. Like being a honorary member just because (in general I am sometimes surprised how little effort it takes sometimes to get a honorary membership).

  5. That Tuvulu recently created a medal of honor to be awarded to KM and others strikes me as a little sad. With all its economic and environmental problems I wonder if this is a nod to the fact that the island’s are in extreme danger of disappearing in the next few decades and the governor-general wants to find a way to bring attention to its plight.

    However, I imagine KM accepting this very generous acknowledgment in her usual numb, uncomprehending way to the nation’s ordeal. Tuvulu did win an Olympic gold medal in 2015 and I hope the athletes also receive this honor. They are much more deserving of recognition.

    1. Leader of Tuvalu: “Your Royal Highness, Catherine the Keen, our beautiful nation is sinking under the water due to rising ocean levels caused by global warming. Many lives will be lost under the watery depths and the survivors will become refugees, beholden to the mercy of whatever country will take them.”

      Catherine the Keen: “oh how interesting…wait, you mean i can’t vacation there anymore?!?”

    2. A little bit more on why orders of merit are given; there’s a dash of disgust, simply in the statement of bald facts:

      There is a link within the above to the PM’s full speech on Tuvalu’s 38th independence anniversary. It’s clear these medals are given for service to the country. In W+K’s case, service meant turning up and enjoying Tuvalu’s hospitality 4-5 years ago.

      And here’s a little of the PM’s speech:
      “My beloved country this morning, this year’s theme is ‘Let us paddle together to protect and save Tuvalu’ and therefore I am calling you again to hold on to your paddle… let’s all together paddle Tuvalu’s canoe. In this canoe, there are no special crew, no need to have passengers who are just sitting down and relaxing and watching those who are paddle. We do not need those types of passengers…”
      Oh, the irony. SMH.

    3. Tropical Storm Pam, with an intensity category of 5, badly damaged almost half of Tuvalu in March of 2015. The Solomon Islands, Vanuatu among other island chains in the area were severely affected. They are part of the Commonwealth. I hope aid agency ministers in Oz get a medal too. They provided a great deal of help to Tuvalu. I think the medal is a reminder to those in far off UK that the Pacific Islands are part of the Commonwealth too. If ocean levels rise in future, they will need help relocating to islands with higher elevations.

    4. The Olympics were in 2016. Tuvalu sent one competitor, who didn’t win a medal. Nobody from Tuvalu has ever won an Olympic medal. Just to set the record straight! But it’s great that they participated, because that’s what the Olympics is meant to be about.

  6. Whoever runs their tourism industry is a brilliant strategist. I’ll be checking to see what their numbers look like over the next year. I’m in hospitality management and sales. That was the first place my mind went when this was announced.

      1. They will get a lot more attention now. That’s why it’s such a good move on their part. Instant recognition.

        1. Will we all get medals if we visit and mention W&K like a kids spirit night?

          Otherwise, no different than Cam getting mega rocks from the ME trip she and Charles took after they married.

  7. As an aside, wow Diana was 100% Princess. It’s straight out of Disney that picture, simply breathtaking.

    1. I thought the exact same thing.

      She had a special magic that really made a picture worth a thousand words.

    2. I know! That dress was easier to pull off in the ’80s, I think, but it is such a beautiful confection.

  8. Visiting the Commonwealth is apart of their duties; them getting a medal is within reason and not a brand new occurrence. And yes Princess Marie of Denmark received the 3rd highest order from Belgium for greeting the King and Queen at the airport and attending a dinner. She didn’t even have to visit a school with the Belgium Queen and taste Belgium chocolates like Princess Mary did. It is what it is.

    I hope Tuvalu gets more attention.

  9. Perhaps royal trinkets awarded for going to the airport, having a meal or tasting chocolate should be re-named so they are not conflated with awards associated with actual achievement and excellence in a particular field. Royal Order for having a Pulse?

  10. I think this HM way of giving them a bone. Since we know Hm is stingy about the RFO as well as most orders the people who receive them has to show some dedication to the royal family and Will and Kate aren’t exactly poster children for this.

  11. I don’t think we should be scornful of Tuvalu in awarding this medal. It’s actually nothing to do with W & K and what they have or haven’t done. Tuvalu may or may not have issues with sea levels in future, climates change, but I’m sure they would like to raise the profile of a tiny nation, which is, after all, a Commonwealth country. My only concern would be whether this is the right way to go, spending much needed resources on honours, which, in the scheme of things are pretty much a waste of time and money.

Comments are closed.

Back To Top