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Published on November 26, 2007

A special word needs to be added about the decoration of women. The admission of women to the orders of chivalry is an innovation in France, a consequence of continuing progress in the modern world. Until the mid-19th century, no woman, not even a sovereign, could wear the official insignia of recognition in France.

Under Louis-Napoleon, President of the Republic, the scarlet ribbon served also to reward acts of bravery, devotion and merit among women. The prince president gave the cross on August 15, 1851 to the widow Brulon, sub-lieutenant at the Invalides, for her military service during the Revolution. In the years that followed, he honored four nuns, among them Sister Rosalie who was so popular in Paris.

From then on, the Legion of Honor was regularly awarded to women increasingly freely for their talent, self-sacrifice or courage, particularly during the lasts two wars.

Napoleon III also awarded the Military Medal to women in the armed forces.

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