Chains of the Order of Our Lady of Guadalupe (below) and of the Order of the Mexican Eagle
There were three Imperial Orders of the Mexican Empire, created to reward Heads of state and prominent people during the two periods of the Mexican Empire - the Imperial Order of Guadalupe (Spanish: Orden Imperial de Guadalupe), the Imperial Order of the Mexican Eagle (Spanish: Orden Imperial del Águila Mexicana), and the Imperial Order of Saint Charles (Spanish: Orden Imperial de San Carlos).
Imperial Order of Guadalupe
Cross of "National Order of Our Lady of Guadalupe"
- The Order of Guadalupe (originally: "National Order of Our Lady of Guadalupe") was established by Emperor Agustín I of Mexico in the fall of 1821, although its statutes would not be published until February 1822. It was originally divided into two classes: Grand Cross and Numerary Member. After the death of the Agustin I, the Order fell out of use and remained inactive for 30 years until Antonio López de Santa Anna convinced Pope Pius IX to recognize it in 1854. It fell into disuse again in August of that same year after the successful Ayutla Revolution and the ousting of Santa Anna from government.
The third and last period of the Order began on June 30, 1863, before the arrival of Maximilian I, by decree of the Provisional Imperial Government. Maximilian I modified the statutes of the Order for the last time on April 10, 1865, renaming the order "Imperial" (instead of "National") and divided it into four ranks, each with civilian and military divisions:
- Grand Cross, limited to 30 recipients.
- Grand Officer, limited to 100 recipients.
- Commander, limited to 200 recipients.
- Knight, limited to 500 recipients.
Among those who received this honour were Vicente Guerrero, Agustín de Iturbide, Alexander von Humboldt, Wilhelm von Tegetthoff, and Leopold I of Belgium.
Imperial Order of the Mexican Eagle
- The Imperial Order of the Mexican Eagle was created by Maximilian I on January 1, 1865. It consisted of two classes: the Superior Class only available to Heads of State, awarded a Grand Cross with Collar; and the Ordinary Class, consisting of the following ranks:
- Grand Cross
- Grand Officer
The award survives partially (in name at least) in the modern Mexican Order of the Aztec Eagle.
Imperial Order of Saint Charles
Cross of the Order of Saint Charles
- The Imperial Order of Saint Charles was created by Maximilian I on April 10, 1866. It was awarded exclusively to women who excelled in the service of their community. The Order honoured Saint Charles Borromeo, Patron Saint of Empress Carlota, sovereign of the Order. It was divided into two classes: the Grand Cross, awarded to only 24 Ladies; and the Cross, without any limit upon the number of women who might receive it.
Empress Charlotte wearing the sash and cross of the Order of Saint Charles
Some Ladies Grand Cross of the Order of Saint Charles include:
- Elizabeth of Bavaria, Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary (Sissi), consort of Franz Joseph I of Austria, Charlotte's sister-in-law
- Marie Henriette of Austria, Queen of Belgium, consort of Leopold II of Belgium, Charlotte's sister-in-law
- Maria Amalia of Naples and Sicily, former Queen of France, consort of Louis Philippe I, Charlotte's maternal grandmother
- Queen Isabella II of Spain
- Amélie of Leuchtenberg, Empress Dowager of Brazil, 2nd consort of Pedro I of Brazil
- Teresa Cristina of the Two Sicilies, Empress of Brazil, consort of Pedro II of Brazil
- Princess Leopoldina of Brazil
- Louise of Hesse-Kassel, Queen of Denmark, consort of Christian IX of Denmark
- Eugenia María de Montijo de Guzmán, Empress of France, consort of Napoleon III
- María Manuela Kirkpatrick de Closebrun, Countess of Montijo y de Teba, Empress Eugénie's mother
- Princess Anne Murat, Duchess of Mouchy, daughter of Prince Lucien Murat
- Maria Pia of Savoy, Queen of Portugal, consort of Luís I of Portugal
- Augusta of Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach, Queen de Prussia, consort of future William I, German Emperor
- Victoria, Princess Royal, Royal Princess of Prussia, consort of future Frederick III, German Emperor
- Maria Feodorovna (Dagmar of Denmark), Empress of Russia, consort of Alexander III of Russia
- Amalie Auguste of Bavaria, Queen of Saxony, consort of John of Saxony
- Josephine of Leuchtenberg, Queen Mother of Sweden & Norway, consort of Oscar I of Sweden
- Louise of the Netherlands, Queen of Sweden & Norway, consort of Charles XV of Sweden
- Gertrudis Enríquez y Sequera de Suárez de Peredo Hurtado de Mendoza, Countess del Valle de Orizaba, her Chamberlain's wife.