The degree of a ‘Prince Rose Croix’ is actually just one degree of a much larger order known as the Ancient & Accepted Rite (A&AR). The A&AR is comprised of 33 degrees. This fraternal society is founded in the same principles of Freemasonry and membership is restricted to Freemasons that have already taken the first three degrees in Freemasonry. Unlike conventional or ‘Craft’ Freemasonry, the A&AR in England & Wales requires of its membership a belief in The Holy Trinity. For this reason, it is often referred to as a ‘Christian Order’. The Order obviously recognises the first three degrees of Craft Freemasonry but candidates are ‘Perfected’ into the 18th Degree. It is this 18th degree – the full name: Knight of the Pelican & Eagle and Sovereign Prince Rose Croix of Heredom… or ‘The Rose Croix’ for short.
Hold on! We covered the first three degrees and then you jumped to the eighteenth. What happened to the intervening 15 degrees?
It would take a lifetime to get through all of those degrees so the Supreme Council deemed that candidates have the degrees between 4-17 conferred upon them in name alone. These are known as the Intermediate Degrees and are performed sequentially by a demonstration team called the King Edward VII Rose Croix Chapter of Improvement on an annual basis.
The Higher Degrees
Rose Croix masons remain 18th Degree masons until they have attained enough experience and demonstrated their ability by going through the various offices of the Chapter. When they have the requisite knowledge and have conducted various elements of ceremonial work in their Chapter, they may be promoted to the 30th Degree. Again, the intervening degrees (19-29) are conferred in name only. The Higher Degrees (30th-33rd) are conferred by the Supreme Council in person at the home of the A&AR – Grand East, 10 Duke Street, London. The degrees from 31st to 33rd are conferred to members on their outstanding commitment and service to the Order.