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Crown (heraldry)

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Title: Crown (heraldry)  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Regalia of the Russian tsars, Coat of arms of Belgium, Astral crown, Coat of arms of San Marino, Eastern crown
Collection: Crowns in Heraldry, Heraldic Charges
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Crown (heraldry)

The coat of arms of Norway, displaying a crowned lion on the shield and a royal crown on top of the shield

A Crown is often an emblem of the sovereign state, a monarch's government, or items endorsed by it; see The Crown. Crowns may also be used by some republics.

A specific type of crown (or coronet for peerage in the British Isles) 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.

A crown can be a charge in a coat of arms, or set upon the shield to signify the status of its owner. So the royal crown which shows a Christian cross on a coat of arms means that his or her holder has power and direct protection from God; if you find crown of the Duke, the owner is not Duke necessarily rather someone who has received power and protection with its power. Crowns bearing bird feathers refer to ancient beliefs, according to which the birds had divine qualities like angels communicated with the worlds beyond the sky. In Italy there are rings that show the city walls used symbolically to remember the function that had the walls to protect the city. Thus the crown is a symbol of power and protection received from someone or something or means that the owner of the crown you show guarantees you power and protection.


  • As a display of rank 1
  • Commonwealth usage 2
  • Continental usages 3
    • Andorra 3.1
    • Bulgaria 3.2
    • France 3.3
      • Ancien Regime 3.3.1
      • Napoleonic Empire 3.3.2
      • July Monarchy 3.3.3
    • Georgia 3.4
    • German-speaking countries 3.5
      • Holy Roman Empire 3.5.1
      • Liechtenstein 3.5.2
      • Austria 3.5.3
      • Germany 3.5.4
    • Greece 3.6
    • Hungary and Croatia 3.7
      • Hungary 3.7.1
      • Croatia 3.7.2
    • Italy 3.8
      • Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946) 3.8.1
      • Kingdoms of Naples, Sicily, Two Sicilies 3.8.2
      • Grand Duchy of Tuscany 3.8.3
      • Other Italian states before 1861 3.8.4
    • Low Countries 3.9
      • Netherlands 3.9.1
      • Belgium 3.9.2
      • Luxembourg 3.9.3
    • Monaco 3.10
    • Poland and Lithuania 3.11
    • Portuguese-speaking countries 3.12
      • Portugal 3.12.1
      • Brazil 3.12.2
    • Romania 3.13
      • Former Kingdom of Romania 3.13.1
    • Russia 3.14
    • Nordic countries 3.15
      • Denmark 3.15.1
      • Finland 3.15.2
      • Norway 3.15.3
      • Sweden 3.15.4
    • Serbia 3.16
    • Spanish-speaking countries 3.17
      • Spain 3.17.1
      • Mexico 3.17.2
  • Non-European usages 4
    • Egypt before 1953 4.1
    • Siam and Thailand 4.2
    • Other examples 4.3
  • Catholic Church 5
  • Multinational 6
  • As a charge 7
  • See also 8
  • Notes and references 9

As a display of rank

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, often above the crest (if any) in Continental heraldry.

In this case the appearance of the crown follows a strict set of rules. A royal coat of arms may display a royal crown such as that of Norway. Princely coats of arms display a princely crown and so on right down to the mural crown which 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 crowns all together. The heraldic forms of crowns are often inspired by the actual appearance of the respective country's royal and princely crowns.

Ships and other units of some navies have a naval crown above the shield of their coats of arms.

Commonwealth usage

The coat of arms of the Barons Hawke displays a baronial coronet.

In formal English the word crown is reserved for the crown of a monarch whereas the word coronet is used for all other noble crowns.

In the peerage of the United Kingdom, 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 peers coronet. Since a person entitled to wear heraldic headgear customarily displays it in his coat of arms 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 may wear them 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 vary depending upon the prince's relationship to the Monarch. Occasionally additional royal warrants vary the designs for individuals.

In Canadian heraldry, 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.

King-St. Edward's Crown King- Crown of Scotland King- Imperial/Tudor Crown Emperor- Imperial Crown of India Heir Apparent
Prince or Princess - brother, sister, son or daughter of a sovereign Prince or Princess - children of the Heir Apparent Prince or Princess - children of other sons of the Sovereign. Other princes or princesses. Prince or Princess - Children of a daughter of the sovereign.
Duke Marquess Earl Viscount
Peerage Baron/Lord of Parliament (Scotland) Feudal Baron (Scotland) Loyalists military coronet (Canadian) Loyalists civil coronet (Canadian)

Continental usages

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 regime, 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


Capital Department Capital[2] Commune[2]

Ancien Regime

King (after 1500's) Dauphin of France 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

Napoleonic Empire

Emperor Sovereign prince Prince Duke
Count Baron Knight Bonnet

July Monarchy

King of the


German-speaking countries

Holy Roman Empire

Imperial Crown Older Crown of the
King of the Romans
Newer Crown of
the King of the Romans
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 Landgraf Crown of an heir to a duchy Older crown of counts Newer crown of counts
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
Austrian Empire
Emperor Archducal hat King of Bohemia Ducal hat of Styria New Ducal hat Prince
Duke Marquess Count Viscount Baron Crown of Nobility


Volkskrone (People's Crown) Mural crown of the arms of the Berlin boroughs
German Empire
German State Crown Empress Crown Prince
King of Prussia King of Bavaria Crown of Württemberg



Hungary and Croatia


Holy Crown of Hungary


Crown of Zvonimir (crown of King Dmitar Zvonimir)


Province City Municipality

Kingdom of Italy (1861-1946)

King (crown of Savoy) Crown Prince (principe ereditario) Royal prince [3] Prince of the blood
Duke Marquess Count Viscount
Baron Noble Hereditary Knight Patrician
Province City Municipality

Kingdoms of Naples, Sicily, Two Sicilies

King of Naples Heir to the throne (Duke of Calabria) Prince and princess

Grand Duchy of Tuscany

Medici Grand Dukes of Tuscany

Other Italian states before 1861

Crown of San Marino Crown of Napoleonic Italy Iron Crown of Lombardy
Papal Tiara Doge of Venice Doge of Genoa

Low Countries


Emperor King Prince
(children of the Monarch)
(grandchildren of the Monarch)
(nobility, for titles granted after 1815)
Duke Marquess Count Count
(alternative style)
Baron Hereditary Knight
Jonkheer Patrician Crown of Nobility


The older crowns are often still seen in the heraldry of older families.

(and princes of
the royal family)
(nobility, for titles granted after 1815)
(nobility, for titles granted during the ancien régime)
Marquess Count Count (older) Count (oldest)
Viscount Baron Baron (older) Hereditary Knight


Grand Duke



Poland and Lithuania

King Prince Nobleman

Portuguese-speaking countries


Capital (Lisbon) City Town Parish
Administrative Region
Kingdom of Portugal (until 1910)
King Crown Prince Prince of Beira Infante Duke
Marquess Count Viscount Baron


Capital[2] City[2] Town[2] Village[2]

Empire of Brazil

Emperor Prince Imperial Prince Duke
Marquess Count Viscount Baron


Capital City Town Village

Former Kingdom of Romania

King (The Steel Crown of Romania)


Emperor crown of the grand duchy of Finland Monomakh Crown Prince
Count Baron Baron (alternative style) Crown of Nobility

Nordic countries


King Crown Prince Prince
(royal family)
Marquess Count Baron Crown of Nobility


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.

Ducal coronet
Comital coronet


King Queen Crown Prince Duke
Marquess Count Baron Crown of Nobility


King Crown Prince Duke
Count Baron Crown of Nobility



Spanish-speaking countries


King National arms design King Monarch's arms design King (Aragon, Catalonia, Balearics, Valencia) Crown Prince
Crown Prince (Aragon, Catalonia, Balearics, Valencia) Infante Infante (Aragon, Catalonia, Balearics, Valencia) Grandee of Spain
Duke Marquess Count Viscount
Baron Señor/Don (Lord) Hidalgo (Nobleman) Knight's burelete


Emperor (1st Empire)
Emperor (2nd Empire)

Non-European usages

Egypt before 1953

Khedive (-1914) and Sultan (1914-22)
King (1922-53)

Siam and Thailand

Great Crown of Victory of the Kings of Siam and Thailand
Phra Kiao (princely coronet, also the emblem of King Chulalongkorn)

Other examples

Imperial Crown of Ethiopia Royal Crown of Hawaii American Coronet Crown of the Shah of Persia
Royal Crown of Tahiti Royal Crown of Tonga Twig crown of the

Republic of the Congo


Catholic Church


Astral crown Camp crown Celestial crown Eastern crown
Mural crown Naval crown

As a charge

In heraldry, a charge is an image occupying the field of a coat of arms. Many coats of arms incorporate crowns as charges. One notable example of this lies in the Three Crowns of the arms of Sweden.

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.

See also

Notes and references

  1. ^ Boutell, Charles (1914). Fox-Davies, A.C., ed. Handbook to English Heraldry, The (11th ed.). London: Reeves & Turner. pp. 104–156. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f This standard has many exceptions.
  3. ^ The dukes of Genoa were granted the privilege to use a crown of royal prince though they were only princes of the blood
  4. ^  
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