The order of Prince Danilo I was established by Prince Danilo Petrović-Njegoš in 1852 in recognition of Montenegro’s independence. This order continued to be bestowed by the House of Petrović-Njegoš after the death of Prince Danilo I although this order was changed by King Nikola I Petrović-Njegoš who created 5 classes for the honor. There was the Grand Cross, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer and Knight and Chevalier. Subsequently these classes were changed and renamed until they’re known today as
Grand Cross I – 1st Class indicated by a sash and a large chest star.
Grand Officer II – 2nd class indicated by a neck cross, sash and a chest star.
Knight Commander III – 3rd class indicated by a neck cross and a chest star.
Knight IV – 4th class indicated by a chest star.
Member V – 5th class indicated by a chest cross.
This medal was awarded to Montenegrin nationals and foreigners on two grounds, firstly for the support and recognition of Montenegrin independence and the royal tradition of the Petrović-Njegoš dynasty and secondly those whose scientific or social work contributed to the development of culture, art or science.
This order has been bestowed on a number of international dignitaries. It is one of the orders recognized by the US military which means that their military may wear the emblem even though it was bestowed by a foreign country. There are only a few senior US officers who received this award during World War I.
Famous recipients of this medal include Serbian born, Nikola Tesla, Prince Arthur of Great Britain and Ireland, Emperor Alexander III of Russia, Emperor Nicholas II of Russia and many more.
This medal was famous enough to make it into literature most notably the book written by F Scott Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby, awarded the Order of Prince Danilo I to his main character, Jay Gatsby.
This order was formerly recognized by the president of Montenegro, Filip Vujanović. In 2005 Cetinje hosted a gala ceremony of the order of Danilo for the first time in 90 years.