The Order of Merit was instituted by King Edward VII in 1902 to reward eminent service in the armed forces or distinguished achievements in science or art and is limited to 24 persons. The Order can be conferred to both military and civilian persons, male or female and foreigners are designated as "honorary members" The first woman to receive the Order was Florence Nightingale.
The badge portrays a crown with the inscription: "For Merit". The ribbon is 2" wide with two vertical stripes, each 1" wide and coloured blue and crimson.
An Indian Order of Merit was established in 1837 but this has since been abolished.