In 1860 the Kingdom of Sardinia militarily occupied the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies and annexed it to the newly established Kingdom of Italy. The material assets of the Constantinian Order – as well as all other assets of the Bourbon family of the Two Sicilies – were confiscated by the new Italian State. However, upon request of the Ministry of Home Affairs on 27 September 1861, an opinion of the State Council said that the fact that the assets of the Order had become part of The Italian State Property should not lead to the disappearance of the Order itself.
This decision was strengthened by two well-known judgements (11 July 1871) of the Supreme Court of Cassation stating that «the Constantinian Order is not abolished nor fallen into decline and by dictatorial decree of Garibaldi issued on 12 February 1860 – which transformed the assets of the Order into State Property – it is just ruled that the assets of the Constantinian Order already managed by the Ministry of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers of the Two Sicilies had now become property of the State».
The Sacred Military Constantinian Order, therefore, continued its existence – and it still lawfully exists – in the Italian State, since, as explained by Ettore Gallo, «it is a knightly institution not statutory but dynastic and family institution completely external to the Italian regulation for its origin and historical evolution. For this reason it has been constantly recognised by the canonical system and therefore qualified as “non national”».
Law n° 178 of 1951 authorises the Italian citizens awarded with the Constantinian decoration to show them as authoritatively recognised also by the Italian State Council in its decision number 1869/81. Therefore those citizens lawfully awarded with Constantinian decorations can ask to use them on the territory of the Italian Republic by Presidential Decree or Decree of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
By Decree of the President of the Republic, in 1973 the National Italian Association of the Knights of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of St. George was elevated to non-profit organisation.