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A specific type of crown (or coronet for the British peerage) is employed in heraldry under strict rules. Indeed, some monarchies never had a physical crown, just a heraldic representation, as in the constitutional kingdom of Belgium.
Crowns are also often used as symbols of religious status or veneration, by divinities (or their representation such as a statue) or by their representatives, e.g. the Black Crown of the Karmapa Lama, sometimes used a model for wider use by devotees.
Physical and heraldic crownsEdit
Oftentimes, the crown commonly depicted and used in heraldry differs significantly from any specific physical crown that may be used by a monarchy.
As a display of rankEdit
If the bearer of a coat of arms has the title of baron or higher (or hereditary knight in some countries), he or she may display a coronet of rank above the shield, usually below the helm in British heraldry, and often above the crest (if any) in Continental heraldry.
In this case, the appearance of the crown or coronet follows a strict set of rules. A royal coat of arms may display a royal crown, such as that of Norway. A princely coat of arms may display a princely crown, and so on.
A mural crown is commonly displayed on coats of arms of towns and some republics. Other republics may use a so-called people's crown or omit the use of a crown altogether. The heraldic forms of crowns are often inspired by the physical appearance of the respective country's actual royal or princely crowns.
Ships and other units of some navies have a naval crown, composed of the sails and sterns of ships, above the shield of their coats of arms. Squadrons of some air forces have an astral crown, composed of wings and stars. There is also the Eastern crown, made up of spikes, and when each spike is topped with a star, it becomes a celestial crown.
Whereas most county councils in England use mural crowns, there is a special type of crown that was used by Scottish county councils. It was composed of spikes, was normally shown vert (green) and had golden wheat sheaves between the spikes. Today, most of the Scottish unitary authorities still use this "wheat sheaf crown", but it is now the usual gold.
In the British peerage, the design of a coronet shows the rank of its owner, as in German, French and various other heraldic traditions. The coronet of a duke has eight strawberry leaves, that of a marquess has four strawberry leaves and four silver balls (known as "pearls", but not actually pearls), that of an earl has eight strawberry leaves and eight "pearls" raised on stalks, that of a viscount has sixteen "pearls", and that of a peerage baron or (in Scotland) lord of parliament has six "pearls". Between the 1930s and 2004, feudal barons in the baronage of Scotland were granted a chapeau or cap of maintenance as a rank insignia. This is placed between the shield and helmet in the same manner as a peer's coronet. Since a person entitled to heraldic headgear customarily displays it above the shield and below the helm and crest, this can provide a useful clue as to the owner of a given coat of arms.
Members of the British royal family have coronets on their coats of arms, and they may wear physical versions at coronations. They are according to regulations made by King Charles II in 1661, shortly after his return from exile in France (getting a taste for its lavish court style; Louis XIV started monumental work at Versailles that year) and Restoration, and they vary depending upon the holder's relationship to the monarch. Occasionally, additional royal warrants vary the designs for individuals.
In Canadian heraldry, special coronets are used to designate descent from United Empire Loyalists. A military coronet signifies ancestors who served in Loyalist regiments during the American Revolution, while a civil coronet is used by all others. The loyalist coronets are used only in heraldry, never worn.
St Edward's Crown
Crown of Scotland
Imperial Crown of India
Prince or Princess
(child of a Sovereign)
Prince or Princess
(child of Heir Apparent)
Prince or Princess
(child of other son of Sovereign)
Child of daughter of Sovereign, if styled Highness
Peerage Baron/Lord of Parliament (Scotland)
Feudal Baron (Scotland)
Loyalist military coronet (Canada)
Loyalist civil coronet (Canada)
Precisely because there are many traditions and more variation within some of these, there are a plethora of continental coronet types. Indeed, there are also some coronets for positions that do not exist, or do not entitle use of a coronet, in the Commonwealth tradition.
Such a case in French heraldry of the Ancien Régime, where coronets of rank did not come into use before the 16th century, is the vidame, whose coronet (illustrated) is a metal circle mounted with three visible crosses. (No physical headgear of this type is known.)
Helmets are often substitutes for coronets, and some coronets are worn only on a helmet.
|Tsar||Tsaritsa||Prince||Older Princesses||Younger Princesses|
|King (after the 1500s)||Heir to the throne (Dauphin)|| Children of the sovereign
(fils de France )
|Prince of the Blood|
|Duke and Peer of France||Duke||Marquis and Peer of France||Marquis|
|Count and Peer of France||Count||Count (older)||Viscount|
|Vidame||Baron||Knight's crown||Knight's tortillon|
|King of the |
|Georgian Royal Crown, also known as the "Iberian Crown"|
Holy Roman EmpireEdit
|Older Imperial Crown||Newer Imperial Crown||Oldest Crown of the King of the Romans||Older Crown of the King of the Romans|
|Newer Crown of the King of the Romans||Crown of the King of Bohemia||Archducal hat||Oldest Electoral hat|
|Older Electoral hat||New Electoral hat & new Ducal hat||Ducal hat of Styria||Ducal crown|
|Princely hat||Princely crown||Crown of a Landgrave||Crown of an heir to a duchy|
|Older crown of a Count||Newer crown of a Count||Older crown of a Baron/Freiherr||Newer crown of a Baron/Freiherr|
|Older Crown of Nobility||Newer Crown of Nobility|
|Prince of Liechtenstein|
|Mural crown of the coat of arms of Austria||Mural crown of the State of Lower Austria|
|Crown of the Emperor of Austria||Crown of the King of Bohemia||Archducal hat||Archducal crown|
|Ducal hat of Styria||Ducal hat||Ducal crown||Princely hat|
|Princely crown||Crown of a Count||Crown of a Baron/Freiherr||Crown of Nobility|
|Volkskrone (People's Crown)||Mural crown of the arms of the Berlin boroughs|
|Crown of the German Emperor||Crown of the German Empress||Crown of the German Crown Prince|
|Crown of the King of Prussia||Crown of the King of Bavaria||Crown of the King of Württemberg|
|Crown of the King of the Hellenes||The Crown as it appears on the Royal Coat of Arms of Greece|
|Holy Crown of Hungary|
Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946)Edit
|King (crown of Savoy)||Heir to the throne (Prince of Piedmont)||Royal prince[b]||Prince of the blood|
Kingdoms of Naples, Sicily, Two SiciliesEdit
|King of Naples||Heir to the throne (Duke of Calabria)||Prince and princess|
Grand Duchy of TuscanyEdit
|Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany|
Other Italian states before 1861Edit
|Crown of San Marino||Crown of Napoleonic Italy||Iron Crown of Lombardy|
|Papal Tiara||Doge of Venice||Doge of Genoa|
(Members of the Royal House,
children of the Monarch)
(Members of the Royal House,
grandchildren of the Monarch)
(nobility, for titles granted after 1815)
|Viscount||Baron|| Hereditary Knight
The older crowns are often still seen in the heraldry of older families.
Poland and LithuaniaEdit
|Capital (Lisbon)||City||Town||Civil Parish|
| Administrative Region|
Kingdom of Portugal (until 1910)
|King||Heir to the throne (Prince Royal)||Prince of Beira||Infante||Duke|
|Marquess||Count||Viscount||Baron||Knight / Fidalgo|
Empire of Brazil
|Emperor||Heir to the throne (Prince Imperial)||Prince||Duke|
Kingdom of RomaniaEdit
|King (The Steel Crown of Romania)|
|Emperor||Crown of the Grand Duchy of Finland||Monomakh's Cap||Prince|
|Count||Baron||Baron (alternative style)||Crown of Nobility|
|King||Crown Prince||Prince (royal family)||Duke|
|Marquess||Count||Baron||Crown of Nobility|
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During the Swedish reign, Swedish coronets were used. Crowns were used in the coats of arms of the historical provinces of Finland. For Finland Proper, Satakunta, Tavastia and Karelia, it was a ducal coronet, for others, a comital coronet. In 1917 with independence, the coat of arms of Finland was introduced with a Grand Ducal coronet, but it was soon removed, in 1920. Today, some cities use coronets, e.g. Pori has a mural crown and Vaasa a Crown of Nobility.
Heraldic crown of the King
Physical crown of the King
Physical crown of the Queen
|Count||Baron||Crown of Nobility|
|Count||Baron||Crown of Nobility|
|King of Serbia (later of Yugoslavia)|
|King (National arms design)||King (Monarch's arms design)||King (Aragon, Catalonia, Balearics, Valencia)||Heir to the throne (Prince of Asturias)|
|Heir to the throne (Prince of Girona) (Aragon, Catalonia, Balearics, Valencia)||Infante||Infante (Aragon, Catalonia, Balearics, Valencia)||Grandee of Spain|
|Baron||Señor/Don (Lord)||Hidalgo (Nobleman)||Knight's burelete|
|Emperor (1st Empire)|
|Emperor (2nd Empire)|
|Prince (1st Empire and 2nd Empire)|
|'Raven Crown' of the Kingdom of Bhutan|
|Crown of the Kingdom of Cambodia|
Central African EmpireEdit
Egypt before 1953Edit
|Khedive (-1914) and Sultan (1914-22)|
|Crown of Jordan|
|Heraldic Crown of Morocco|
|Crown of Oman|
|Heraldic Crown of Saudi Arabia|
Siam and ThailandEdit
|Great Crown of Victory of the Kings of Siam and Thailand|
|Phra Kiao (princely coronet, also the emblem of King Chulalongkorn)|
|Crown of Tonga|
|Imperial Crown of Ethiopia||Royal Crown of Hawaii||Crown of the Shah of Persia||Crown of the Shah of Iran|
|American Coronet||Royal Crown of Tahiti|| |
Twig crown of the
Republic of the Congo
As a chargeEdit
Additionally, many animal charges (frequently lions) and sometimes human heads also appear crowned. Animal charges gorged (collared) of an open coronet also occur, though far less frequently.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Heraldic crowns.|
- This standard has many exceptions.
- The dukes of Genoa were granted the privilege to use a crown of royal prince though they were only princes of the blood
- Mackinnon of Dunakin, Charles (1968). The Observer's Book of Heraldry. Frederick Warne & Co. Ltd. p. 73.
- Moncreiffe, Iain; Pottinger, Don (1953). Simple Heraldry Cheerfully Illustrated. Thomas Nelson and Sons. p. 58.
- Cox, Noel The Coronets of Members of the Royal Family and of the Peerage. Originally published in (1999) 22 The Double Tressure, the Journal of The Heraldry Society of Scotland 8-13. Acceded 8 April 2017
- Boutell, Charles (1914). Fox-Davies, A.C. (ed.). Handbook to English Heraldry, The (11th ed.). London: Reeves & Turner. pp. 104–156.
- Ströhl, Hugo Gerard (1899). Heraldischer Atlas. Stuttgart.