Did you know that every crown worn by a monarch is symbolic? Has it ever occurred to you that there are several types of crowns? Crowns are not just beautiful headgears worn by royals. They have meanings as they symbolize power, royalty, glory, and even immortality. Such heavy connotations could be the reason why they are made of rare precious metals and jewels.
History of the Crown
Since time immemorial, monarchs and sometimes church officials have worn crowns. The first known crown was discovered in Harayan, India, in pre-historic times. The precursor to this crown was the Diadem of the Achaemenid Persian emperors.
After that, the Diadem was adopted by Constantine I, and all rulers of the Roman Empire followed suit. Note that ancient crowns had different designs, such as the Deshret (double crown) and the Hedjet (White Crown), which had a Pharaonic descent.
Before the Romans converted to Christianity, they used a radian crown (corona radiata) as part of their Sol Invictus cult practices. You may have noticed this crown on the Statue of Liberty.
The Iron Crown of Lombardy is the oldest Christian crown in Europe. It was mainly used in the coronations of kings in both Austrian and Napoleonic Italy. This crown has been a symbol of unity in Italy since 1860. It is currently preserved in the Cathedral of Monza.
In European countries where the Christian tradition is dominant, monarch power is given by the church (ecclesiastical sanction). This is why, when a new royal assumes the throne, a religious official or church leader places the crown on their head during a coronation ceremony.
Many monarchies no longer carry out such ceremonies, nor do they crown and anoint royals. Only the Tongan Monarchy and the British Monarchies do. The British Monarchy carries out extravagant coronation ceremonies, usually held at Westminster Abbey in London. This practice has been around for more than 1,000 years.
Ironically, legend has it that the famous King Napoleon crowned himself, to the utter surprise of Pope Pius VII.
Importance of the Crown
Crowns are symbolic even though many monarchies no longer use them as before. Most of them have kept their crowns as national symbols or to preserve culture and history.
The majority of these crowns have been lost, fought over, stolen, and sometimes destroyed by fires. The French crown jewels, for instance, were sold in the 19th century while a fire destroyed the Spanish crown jewels.
Some monarchies have more than one crown. The United Kingdom, for instance, has six crowns, which include:
● The Crown of Scotland
● Imperial State Crown
● St. Edward's Crown
● Queen Victoria's Diamond Crown
● Coronation Crown of George IV
● State Crown of George I
For any monarch, crowns are a symbol of sovereign power and authority. Some crowns, such as those worn by royals, command a lot of respect for the wearer. They stood for victory, honor, legitimacy, glory, and triumph.
Others represented resurrection, righteousness, and immortality. So powerful were these crowns that people believed western kings were chosen and anointed by God. Such belief made people revere kings and queens. It also necessitated the need for royal families to produce heirs to stay in power.
Crowns were also a symbol of wealth and affluence. They were made from fine, expensive materials such as velvet, precious stones, and metals such as diamonds and gold.
The Imperial State Crown has the largest known diamond ( a 317-carat Cullinan II diamond). It also has famous gems such as the Black Prince's ruby, Queen Elizabeth's pearls, St. Edwards' sapphire, and the Stuart sapphire.
The importance of crowns and their symbolisms cannot be understated. Do you wish to know more about crowns and other symbols of power? Visit our website for more information.