While it traces its origin back to the Knights Hospitallers of Jerusalem, in the 11th Century, the order was instituted on 14 May 1888 by Queen Victoria in recognition of the work carried out. The Queen made the British Order of St John a Royal Order of Chivalry with the title ‘The Most Venerable Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem’. The order spread through the Empire with Priories being established in several countries.
Its ribbon is a plain, black, watered silk.
The errata ‘South African Honours and Awards’ page 127 state that Superintendents Misses M Thomas, S E Webb, S E Oram and Nursing sister Miss L W Tulloh were appointed to the RRC on 27 Sep 01 but that a notice appeared in the Gazette on 26 Jun 02 cancelling that and stating that they had been enrolled in Honorary Associates of the Grand Priory of the Order of the Hospital of St John of Jerusalem.