Separation and reunification

In 1952 the Duke of Seville died. His son Francisco Enrique de Borbón y de Borbón was elected Grand Master. In 1956, he appointed Pierre Timoléon de Cossé-Brissac, twelfth Duke of Brissac, Administrator-General of the Order. This move eventually resulted in the fragmentation of the Order into two groups that became known as the Paris Obedience and the Malta Obedience, after the Spanish faction transferred its administration to Malta.

In spite of repeated attempts at reconciliation, this fragmentation was to last for nearly five decades with reunification occurring in September 2008 with the election of HE Don Carlos Gereda y de Borbón, Marquis de Almazan as the 49th Grand Master of the reunited Order. The Greek Melkite Catholic Patriarch of Alexandria, Antioch and Jerusalem and all the East His Beatitude Gregory III remained the Spiritual Protector of the reunited Order. until his retirement in May 2017.  He was succeeded by the new Patriarch, Bishop Youssef Absi.

Following the untimely death of Don Carlos in August 2017, HE Don Francisco de Borbon Graf von Hardenberg, the son of the Duke of Seville, assumed the role of Interim Grand Master.  He was duly elected the 50th Grand Master by acclamation at the Chapter-General of May 2018 in Madrid.