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Unofficial medals, sometimes called "bling medals", are those not awarded by, or approved for wear by, the Sovereign. The official Legion position is that they should not be worn by Standard Bearers and others are discouraged from wearing them.
The following is the relevant extract from the Legion's Handbook for Ceremonial and Services:
The official rules for wearing medals allow only official awards to be worn. Unofficial purchased medals and foreign medals which do not have the Sovereign's permission to be worn are not allowed. Standard Bearers, Parade Marshals and other officials on Legion duty are bound by this ruling and unofficial medals must not be worn when on Legion duty.
That said, there is a strong element who wear these medals anyway, and the custom has arisen that they are worn below the official row on the left breast in such a way that they are clearly unofficial. Of course where there is no official row this is inclined to make them appear official, and this detracts from official medals worn with the Queen's permission.
Official Lapel Badges
An emblem has been authorised for wear by those holding any
grade of the Order of the British Empire, and those in possession
of the BEM. It has a representation of the badge of the Order
mounted on a button of pink and grey. It costs £15 which includes
p&p and can be obtained from:
Toye Kenning and Spencer Ltd
Regalia House, Newtown Road, Bedworth, Warwickshire CV12 8QR
There are several other types of Official Lapel Badges available free to those eligible. Click on the name below for details regarding each one.