The most exclusive royal orders of knighthood based on the current
number of members (
including Royal Family and foreign members) are:
1. Order of the Golden Fleece (Spain), established in 1430: King Felipe VI plus 16 living knights (including 2 Spanish royals and 10 foreign royals).
2. Order of the Thistle (UK/Scotland), established in 1687: Queen Elizabeth II plus 19 living knights (including 4 British royals).
3. Order of the Garter (UK/England), established in 1348: Queen Elizabeth II plus 38 living knights (including 9 British royals and 8 foreign royals)
4. Order of the Elephant (Denmark), established 1693: Queen Margrethe II plus 65 living knights (including 8 Danish royals and 34 foreign royals).
5. Order of the Seraphim (Sweden), established 1748: King Carl XVI Gustaf plus 88 living knights (including 17 Swedish royals and 35 foreign royals).
- Only single-class orders awarded by reigning monarchs were considered.
- The figures above are from Wikipedia and may have a margin of error, especially for the orders of the Elephant and the Seraphim.
- The generic term "knight" in the list above includes both male and female members.