The Pontifical Order of Pius IX is the most senior of the orders which are active today. In general, its highest ranks are reserved for Sovereigns and Heads of State and its middle ranks for those such as senior diplomats accredited to the Holy See.
Previous recipients include HM King Olav V of Norway and HM King Gustav of Sweden. Recipients of the higher ranks include HM Queen Margrethe II of Denmark and Fra’ Andrew Bertie, Prince and Grand Master of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta. In Britain, members have included the Lord Hunt of Tamworth and Miles Fitzalan-Howard, 17th Duke of Norfolk, who was a Knight Grand Cross of the Order.
An Order of Pian Knights was founded by Pius IV in about 1560, but this fell into disuse and the present Order was instituted by Pope Pius IX in 1847.