The Order of St John in England was centred around the Priory of Clerkenwell in London in the 12th Century and reached its zenith of power and influence at the beginning of the 16th Century. The dissolution of the monasteries put an end to the Order in England for nearly 300 years, but it was revived in 1831 and was active in attending to the sick and wounded in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. The order was granted a Charter by Queen Victoria in 1888.
Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth II is its Sovereign Head. The Grand Prior, currently the Duke of Gloucester, is always a member of the Royal Family. Today there are 20 000 members of the Order worldwide. Membership is granted under the crown to those who strive to fulfil the Order’s ideals.