The Golden Lion was one of the six Defender-class WarShips constructed by the Federated Suns in the two decades between 2360 and the 2380s, the Suns very first indigenous WarShip design. While outclassed by many newer Terran Hegemony designs by this point, the Golden Lion and her sister-ships would continue to serve the Armed Forces of the Federated Suns with distinction for many centuries, periodically mothballed and reactivated during their service lives. By the final decades of the Star League era, the Golden Lion was only one of the two surviving Defender-class ships still active and served as the flagship of the entire FedSuns Navy. As of 2765 the Golden Lion was under the command of Fleet Admiral Alexi Viscoff and was the flagship of the Federated Suns Navy Crucis Fleet, serving alongside a number of other WarShips including a sister Defender-class WarShip.
The Golden Lion would be immortalised for its valiant efforts during the First Succession War to blunt the Draconis Combine advance from 2787 until its destruction in 2790. Then under the command of Admiral Kenneth Jones, the Golden Lion met its end while serving as the head of as naval task-force tasked by First Prince John Davion with conducting strikes behind the front-lines in a desperate attempt to stall the pace of the Draconis Combine Mustered Soldiery's ceaseless drive into Davion space.   
Initially the task-force was highly successful as it struck eleven Kurita-occupied systems from Imbrial III to New Valencia in quick succession, destroying or capturing every Kurita vessel they encountered, attacking what ground forces they could find and even resupplying embattled AFFS forces and resistance groups along the way. Pleased with the results, Admiral Jones signalled his fleet to rendezvous in the Cholame system before heading back to Rosamond in Davion controlled space. Abandoned by the FedSuns early during the war and reportedly one of the many minor worlds bypassed by Kuritan forces, the one-system world seemed ideal as a rest and rendezvous point. 
However in one of the most disastrous intelligence blunders of the war, the DMI had failed to discover that the Combine's invasion armada had chosen Cholame as its own redoubt. As soon as Admiral Jones' fleet entered the system, Kurita AeroSpace Fighters immediately attacked the shocked Davion forces with a group of Kurita WarShips close behind. The largest naval campaign either nation had ever fought, the battle would last a full six weeks as Admiral Jones darted between the system's jump points, desperately trying to buy enough time for at least some of his ships to escape. Ultimately the Golden Lion would be among the numerous Davion WarShips lost, less than a quarter of Jones' fleet able to flee. The only small comfort to the Davion forces was the fact that they had taken an equal number of Kurita WarShips with them.   
- Field Report 2765: AFFS, p. 26 "Defender-Class Battlecruiser"
- Field Report 2765: Federated Suns, p. 6, "Naval Defense Doctrine"
- House Davion (The Federated Suns), p. 62 "History - First Succession War - Retreat"
- Handbook: House Davion, p. 51 "History of the Federated Suns - First and Second Succession Wars - First Succession War - Strategic Withdrawal"