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Investiture means the formal installation of somebody (heir, elect of nominee) in public office by formally giving him the "insignia". The term is normally reserved for formal offices of state, aristocracy and church.
In the Middle Ages investiture was the ceremonial transfer of a fief by an overlord to a vassal. The lord invested the vassal with a fiefdom, by giving a symbol of the land or office. From feudal times up to the present, the term has been used in canon law to refer to a cleric receiving the symbols of spiritual office, such as the pastoral ring, mitre and staff, signifying transfer of the office.
In the United Kingdom, around 2,600 people are invested personally by The Queen or a member of the Royal Family. A list of those to be honoured is published twice a year, in either the New Year's Honours List or The Queen's Birthday Honours List. Approximately 22 Investitures are held annually in Buckingham Palace, one or two at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh and one in Cardiff.
The question who should invest (appoint) whom was the subject of a conflict between the Catholic church (mainly the papacy) and state (mainly the Holy Roman Empire) in the Middle Ages during the so-called lay investiture controversy.
- from the Latin preposition in and verb vestire, 'dress' from vestis 'robe'
- McKay, John P.; Bennent D. Hill, and John Buckler (2006). "Chapter 9" (in English). A History of Western Society (Eighth ed.). Houghton Mifflin Company. pp. 274-276. .