We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.

Advertiser Disclosure

Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.

How We Make Money

We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently from our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is Victoria Cross?

Mary McMahon
Updated Feb 27, 2024
Our promise to you
WiseGEEK is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At WiseGEEK, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

The Victoria Cross is Britain's highest military honor. It can be awarded to any member of the military, regardless of rank, and to civilians working under military command. This honor is offered to people who have demonstrated considerable valor in the face of the enemy, and by tradition, it is awarded by the sitting British monarch in a ceremony in London. Receiving a Victoria Cross, also known as the VC, is a great honor, and these medals are highly prized.

This medal was developed in 1856, and originally awarded to people who had served in the Crimean War. Queen Victoria wanted to be able to award a medal which did not distinguish on the basis of rank, giving all soldiers an equal opportunity to win high honor when they fought for Britain. By tradition, the Victoria Cross is supposed to be cast from the metal of cannons which were seized during the Siege of Sevastopol. Analysis of numerous VC medals has called this tradition into question, as some older medals appear to be made from metal of Chinese origin, rather than the original cannons, which are stored under guard so that they can be brought out when a new Victoria Cross is awarded.

Since 1856, the medals have been manufactured by Hancocks of London, a jewelry company which holds numerous royal warrants. The medal takes the form of a cross pattée, a cross with arms which widen at the edges and narrow in the center, and it has an inscription which reads “for valour.” A crown and lion device is centered in the middle of the cross.

In addition to receiving the medal, people who are awarded a Victoria Cross are also entitled to an annuity. The amount of the annuity varies, with the government determining how much should be awarded. Some recipients of the Victoria Cross have dedicated their medals to museums, and periodically, a medal comes on the market, typically from survivors of a recipient who has died. Because the Victoria Cross is rare, with less than 2,000 awarded as of 2008, the medal fetches a high price when sold at auction to collectors.

Since 1920, forfeiting the Victoria Cross has not been permitted. King George V advocated for this rule change, arguing that while other military decorations and privileges can be stripped from people, the Victoria Cross should never be taken away, even if it meant that a murderer would wear it to the gallows. Several recipients were stripped of their Victoria Crosses prior to this rule change, and their medals were retroactively restored.

WiseGEEK is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Mary McMahon
By Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a WiseGEEK researcher and writer. Mary has a liberal arts degree from Goddard College and spends her free time reading, cooking, and exploring the great outdoors.

Related Articles

Discussion Comments

Mary McMahon

Mary McMahon

Ever since she began contributing to the site several years ago, Mary has embraced the exciting challenge of being a...

Read more
WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

WiseGEEK, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.