Field marshal (United Kingdom)Field marshal has been the highest rank in the British Army since 1736. A five-star rank with NATO code OF-10, it is equivalent to an admiral of the fleet in the Royal Navy or a marshal of the Royal Air Force in the RAF. A field marshal's insignia consists of two crossed batons surrounded by yellow leaves below St Edward's Crown. As with marshals of the Royal Air Force and admirals of the fleet in their respective services, field marshals remain officers of the British Army for life, though on half-pay when not in an appointment. The rank has been used sporadically throughout its history and was vacant through parts of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries (when all holders of the rank were deceased). After the Second World War, it became standard practice to appoint the Chief of the Imperial General Staff (later renamed Chief of the General Staff) to the rank on his last day in the post. Army officers occupying the post of Chief of the Defence Staff, the professional head of all the British Armed Forces, were usually promoted to the rank upon their appointment.
In total, 141 men have held the rank of field marshal. The majority led careers in the British Army or the British Indian Army, rising through the ranks to eventually become a field marshal. Some members of the British Royal Family—most recently Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, and Charles, Prince of Wales—were promoted to the rank after shorter periods of service. Three British monarchs—George V, Edward VIII, and George VI— assumed the rank on their accessions to the throne, while Edward VII was already a field marshal, and two British consorts—Albert, Prince Consort and Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh—were appointed by their respective queens. Other ceremonial appointments were made as diplomatic gestures. Twelve foreign monarchs held the honour, though three (Wilhelm II, German Emperor; Franz Joseph I, Austrian Emperor; and Hirohito, Emperor of Japan) were stripped of it when their countries became enemies of Britain and her allies in the two world wars. Also awarded the rank were two distinguished foreign military officers, honoured for their contributions to World War I and World War II respectively, and one foreign statesman.
Victoria, Princess Royal (Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa; 21 November 1840 – 5 August 1901) was German Empress and Queen of Prussia by marriage to German Emperor Frederick III. She was the eldest child of Queen Victoria of Great Britain and Ireland and Prince Albert, and was created Princess Royal in 1841. She was the mother of Wilhelm II, German Emperor.