The Prince and Grand Master
H.M.E.H. Fra’ Matthew Festing (2008 – 2017)
The Grand Master is elected for life from the Professed Knights by the Council Complete of State. According to the Constitution, as the religious Superior and Sovereign, he must fully dedicate himself to the development of the works of the Order and to set an example of living by Christian principles, to all the members of the Order. He is vested with supreme authorities. Together with the Sovereign Council, the Grand Master issues the legislative measures not covered by the Constitution, promulgates government acts, manages Common Treasure assets, ratifies, international agreements and the summoning of the Chapter General. The States with which the Order has diplomatic relations recognise the Grand Master with the prerogatives, immunities and honours reserved for Heads of State.
The title of Most Eminent Highness is bestowed on the Grand Master,
and the Holy Roman Church confers him the rank of Cardinal.
The Grand Master resides at the Order’s seat of government the Magistral Palace in Rome.
Fra’ Matthew Festing, an Englishman, was elected Prince and Grand Master of the Order of Malta on 11th March 2008 by the Council Complete of State of the Order of Malta. He succeeds Fra’ Andrew Bertie, 78th Grand Master (1988-2008), who died on 7 February.
The Sovereign Council, the government of the Sovereign Order of Malta, accepted the resignation of H.M.E.H. Frá Matthew Festing on 28 January 2017, and thanked Fra’ Matthew Festing for his great commitment during his nine years in office.