History of the OrderEditOrder of the Golden Fleece was founded by Phillip III the Good, Duke of Burgundy, in Flanders in 1430 to commemorate his wedding. Through marriage of Mary of Burgundy to the Austrian Archduke Maximillian in 1477, the grand mastership passed to the House of Habsburg. The Holy Roman Emperor Charles V left the Grand Mastership to his son, Phillip II of Spain. But after the extinction of the Spanish Habsburgs in 1700 it was disputed between the Spanish Bourbons and the Austrian Habsburgs. Emperor Charles VI instituted the order in Vienna in 1713 the thus both the Austrian and the Spanish sovereigns continue to award the Golden Fleece as their principal order of knighthood. It is exlusively reserved for Roman Catholics of highest Nobility.
Today there are two branches, an Austrian branch and a Spanish branch. The Sovereigns of the Order are the King of Spain and Emperor of Austria(Head of house of Habsburg). It's motto is: Pretium Laborum Non Vile/Non Aiud(Not a bad reward for labour/I will have no other). It has one grade(Knight/Lady) and it is awarded at the Monarch's pleasure.