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The Order of Merit

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The Order of Merit was founded by King Edward VII in 1902, to honour those who had ‘rendered exceptionally meritorious service in Our Crown Services or towards the advancement of Arts, Learning, Literature, and Science’.

In 1906 the King authorised the commissioning of portrait drawings of members of the Order. The practice of commissioning portraits of members stopped after the First World War but was revived by The Queen in 1987.