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On This Day 1960: The OBE Chapel is dedicated in the presence of The Queen

The British honours system is notoriously complicated, with numerous medals and gongs given to civilians and those in the military for their service to the nation.
 
But amongst the plethora of awards sits those which are best-known within the UK and around the world - the five chivalric titles which fall within the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire.
 
Instituted by King George V in 1917 initially to recognise the considerable civilian contribution to the war effort during the First World War, the Order of the British Empire was a pioneering honour, being the first five-class Order for national distribution and the first to admit women to membership. Until then no woman had been eligible for an award, although an exception was made for Florence Nightingale, the founder of modern nursing. 
 
In 1918 the Order was separated into military and civil divisions and these awards have continued to this day. Announced twice a year, on the Queen's birthday and at New Year, these five classes honour all people in society, from lollipop ladies to sports stars; musicians to charity workers.
 
In increasing order of seniority, the awards are: 
MBE Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
OBE Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
CBE Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
KBE/
DBE
Knight/Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire
GBE Knight or Dame Grand Cross of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire

The Queen is the Sovereign of the Order with Prince Philip as Grand Master. The Bishop of London is the Order's Prelate and the serving Dean of St Paul's acts as the Order's Dean. 
 
The association with St Paul's stems from the Cathedral's long consideration, by many, to be the Nation's Church and a place of great state occasions, including state funerals and memorial services. It therefore was a natural location to be the spiritual home of the Order of the British Empire. 
 
On 20 May 1960, The Queen and Prince Philip came to St Paul's as the Bishop of London, Henry Campbell, dedicated the newly created Chapel of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (commonly known as the OBE Chapel) at the east end of the crypt of St Paul's.
 
The Order's chapel is also known as St Faith’s Chapel. The original St Faith's was a parish church attached to the old Cathedral destroyed in the Great Fire of London. During the rebuilding of St Paul's, this chapel was dedicated to St Faith close to the foundations of the former church and offered parishioners their own place of worship in the building.
 
Today, the OBE Chapel is one of the busiest spaces within the Cathedral. Every week, the Chapel is used for educational work, including the OBE Organ Outreach Programme, which introduces organ music to thousands of children, thanks to the generous support of the Order. One of the privileges of receiving an award within the Order is to marry (holders and children of holders) or be baptised (holders, children and grandchildren of holders) within the Chapel and these special services are held on nearly every weekend of the year.