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Coronet

Coronet

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A coronet is a small crown
Crown (headgear)
A crown is the traditional symbolic form of headgear worn by a monarch or by a deity, for whom the crown traditionally represents power, legitimacy, immortality, righteousness, victory, triumph, resurrection, honour and glory of life after death. In art, the crown may be shown being offered to...

 consisting of ornaments fixed on a metal ring. Unlike a crown, a coronet never has arches.

The word stems from the Old French coronete, a diminutive of co(u)ronne ("crown"), itself from the Latin corona (also "wreath").

Traditionally, such headgear is – as indicated by the German equivalent Adelskrone (literally "crown of nobility") – used by noble
Nobility
Nobility is a social class which possesses more acknowledged privileges or eminence than members of most other classes in a society, membership therein typically being hereditary. The privileges associated with nobility may constitute substantial advantages over or relative to non-nobles, or may be...

s and by princes and princesses in their coats of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

, rather than by monarch
Monarch
A monarch is the person who heads a monarchy. This is a form of government in which a state or polity is ruled or controlled by an individual who typically inherits the throne by birth and occasionally rules for life or until abdication...

s, for whom the word crown is customarily reserved in formal English, while many languages have no such terminological distinction. Other than a crown, a coronet shows the rank of the respective noble. Hence, in German language
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 there is also the term Rangkrone.

For equivalents, both physical and emblematic, in other languages and cultures, see under crown (headgear)
Crown (headgear)
A crown is the traditional symbolic form of headgear worn by a monarch or by a deity, for whom the crown traditionally represents power, legitimacy, immortality, righteousness, victory, triumph, resurrection, honour and glory of life after death. In art, the crown may be shown being offered to...

.

Commonwealth usage


The main use is now actually not on the head (indeed, many people entitled to a coronet never have one made; the same even applies to some monarchs' crowns, as in Belgium) but as a rank symbol in heraldry
Heraldry
Heraldry is the profession, study, or art of creating, granting, and blazoning arms and ruling on questions of rank or protocol, as exercised by an officer of arms. Heraldry comes from Anglo-Norman herald, from the Germanic compound harja-waldaz, "army commander"...

, adorning a coat of arms.

In the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, a peer
Peerage
The Peerage is a legal system of largely hereditary titles in the United Kingdom, which constitute the ranks of British nobility and is part of the British honours system...

 wears his or her coronet on one occasion only: for a royal coronation
Coronation of the British monarch
The coronation of the British monarch is a ceremony in which the monarch of the United Kingdom is formally crowned and invested with regalia...

, when it is worn along with coronation robes, equally standardised as a luxurious uniform.

In the peerages 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
    Dukes in the United Kingdom
    Duke, in the United Kingdom, is the highest-ranking hereditary title in all four peerages of the British Isles. A duke thus outranks all other holders of titles of nobility ....

     (a silver-gilt circlet, chased as jewelled but not actually gemmed) has eight strawberry
    Strawberry
    Fragaria is a genus of flowering plants in the rose family, Rosaceae, commonly known as strawberries for their edible fruits. Although it is commonly thought that strawberries get their name from straw being used as a mulch in cultivating the plants, the etymology of the word is uncertain. There...

     leaves of which five are seen in two-dimensional representations;
  • that of a marquess
    Marquess
    A marquess or marquis is a nobleman of hereditary rank in various European peerages and in those of some of their former colonies. The term is also used to translate equivalent oriental styles, as in imperial China, Japan, and Vietnam...

     has four strawberry leaves and four silver balls (known as "pearls", but not actually pearl
    Pearl
    A pearl is a hard object produced within the soft tissue of a living shelled mollusk. Just like the shell of a mollusk, a pearl is made up of calcium carbonate in minute crystalline form, which has been deposited in concentric layers. The ideal pearl is perfectly round and smooth, but many other...

    s), slightly raised on points above the rim, of which three leaves and two balls are seen;
  • that of an earl
    Earl
    An earl is a member of the nobility. The title is Anglo-Saxon, akin to the Scandinavian form jarl, and meant "chieftain", particularly a chieftain set to rule a territory in a king's stead. In Scandinavia, it became obsolete in the Middle Ages and was replaced with duke...

     has eight strawberry leaves (four visible) and eight "pearls" raised on stalks, of which five are visible;
  • that of a viscount
    Viscount
    A viscount or viscountess is a member of the European nobility whose comital title ranks usually, as in the British peerage, above a baron, below an earl or a count .-Etymology:...

     has sixteen "pearls" touching one another, nine being seen in representation; and
  • that of a baron
    Baron
    Baron is a title of nobility. The word baron comes from Old French baron, itself from Old High German and Latin baro meaning " man, warrior"; it merged with cognate Old English beorn meaning "nobleman"...

     or Lord of Parliament in the Scots peerage (a plain silver-gilt circlet) has six "pearls" of which four are visible.


Since a person entitled to wear a coronet customarily displays it in his or her coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 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. In Canadian heraldry, descendants of the United Empire Loyalists
United Empire Loyalists
The name United Empire Loyalists is an honorific given after the fact to those American Loyalists who resettled in British North America and other British Colonies as an act of fealty to King George III after the British defeat in the American Revolutionary War and prior to the Treaty of Paris...

 are entitled to use a Loyalist military coronet (for descendants of members of Loyalist regiments) or Loyalist civil coronet (for others) in their arms.

Members of the British Royal Family
British Royal Family
The British Royal Family is the group of close relatives of the monarch of the United Kingdom. The term is also commonly applied to the same group of people as the relations of the monarch in her or his role as sovereign of any of the other Commonwealth realms, thus sometimes at variance with...

 have coronets on their coats of arms and may wear them at coronations. They were made, according to regulations made by King Charles II
Charles II of England
Charles II was monarch of the three kingdoms of England, Scotland, and Ireland.Charles II's father, King Charles I, was executed at Whitehall on 30 January 1649, at the climax of the English Civil War...

 in 1661, shortly after his return from exile in France (getting a taste for its lavish court style; Louis XIV
Louis XIV of France
Louis XIV , known as Louis the Great or the Sun King , was a Bourbon monarch who ruled as King of France and Navarre. His reign, from 1643 to his death in 1715, began at the age of four and lasted seventy-two years, three months, and eighteen days...

 started monumental work at Versailles
Versailles
Versailles , a city renowned for its château, the Palace of Versailles, was the de facto capital of the kingdom of France for over a century, from 1682 to 1789. It is now a wealthy suburb of Paris and remains an important administrative and judicial centre...

 that year) during the Restoration. They vary depending upon the prince's relationship to the monarch. Occasionally, additional royal warrants vary the designs for individuals. The most recent (and most comprehensive) royal warrant concerning coronets was the 19 November 1917 warrant of George V
George V of the United Kingdom
George V was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, and Emperor of India, from 6 May 1910 through the First World War until his death in 1936....

.1917 royal warrant

Rather than a coronet, the heir apparent receives a crown with a single arch. This is the only British "crown" not worn by a sovereign or consort of the sovereign.

There is evidence to support the wearing of coronets amongst the Welsh royalty and nobility, particularly in the Kingdom of Gwynedd
Kingdom of Gwynedd
Gwynedd was one petty kingdom of several Welsh successor states which emerged in 5th-century post-Roman Britain in the Early Middle Ages, and later evolved into a principality during the High Middle Ages. It was based on the former Brythonic tribal lands of the Ordovices, Gangani, and the...

. Llywelyn's coronet
Llywelyn's coronet
Llywelyn's coronet is a lost treasure of Welsh history. It is recorded that Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, Prince of Wales and Lord of Aberffraw had deposited this crown and other items with the monks at Cymer Abbey for safekeeping at the start of his final campaign in 1282. He was killed later that year...

 was for a while kept with the English crown jewels
Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom
The collective term Crown Jewels denotes the regalia and vestments worn by the sovereign of the United Kingdom during the coronation ceremony and at other state functions...

.

Continental usages


The Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, and consequently its successor states – Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

, Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and others – had a system very similar to that of the British, although the design varied.
  • The normal Adelskrone for lower nobility ("Laubkrone") is a golden ring with pearls and precious stones that features eight tines of which typically only five are visible. Out of those, the central and the outer tines are normally leaves, whereas the others are headed by pearls. In the southern states of Bavaria
    Bavaria
    Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

     and Württemberg
    Württemberg
    Württemberg , formerly known as Wirtemberg or Wurtemberg, is an area and a former state in southwestern Germany, including parts of the regions Swabia and Franconia....

     quite often all tines are headed by pearls.
  • The Freiherr
    Freiherr
    The German titles Freiherr and Freifrau and Freiin are titles of nobility, used preceding a person's given name or, after 1919, before the surname...

    nkrone
    (baron's coronet) shows seven tines with pearls.
  • The Grafenkrone (count
    Count
    A count or countess is an aristocratic nobleman in European countries. The word count came into English from the French comte, itself from Latin comes—in its accusative comitem—meaning "companion", and later "companion of the emperor, delegate of the emperor". The adjective form of the word is...

    's coronet) shows nine tines with pearls. Some of the senior houses used coronets showing five leaves and four pearls (Some mediatized counties and minor principalities had other types of coronets that distinguished them from normal counts).
  • The Fürstenkrone (coronet of a prince
    Prince
    Prince is a general term for a ruler, monarch or member of a monarch's or former monarch's family, and is a hereditary title in the nobility of some European states. The feminine equivalent is a princess...

    ) is a golden ring with precious stones and five leaves and a crimson cap, that is surrounded by three visible arches with an imperial globe on top.
  • The Herzogskrone (duke
    Duke
    A duke or duchess is a member of the nobility, historically of highest rank below the monarch, and historically controlling a duchy...

    's coronet) has five arches, but only four tines. Crimson cloth is visible between the arches.


Considering the highly religious nature of the Holy Roman Empire
Holy Roman Empire
The Holy Roman Empire was a realm that existed from 962 to 1806 in Central Europe.It was ruled by the Holy Roman Emperor. Its character changed during the Middle Ages and the Early Modern period, when the power of the emperor gradually weakened in favour of the princes...

, one can say that, except for the short-lived Napoleonic states, no continental secular system of heraldry historically was so neatly regulated as under the British crown. Still, there are often traditions (often connected to the Holy Roman Empire, e.g., those in Sweden
Sweden
Sweden , officially the Kingdom of Sweden , is a Nordic country on the Scandinavian Peninsula in Northern Europe. Sweden borders with Norway and Finland and is connected to Denmark by a bridge-tunnel across the Öresund....

, Denmark
Denmark
Denmark is a Scandinavian country in Northern Europe. The countries of Denmark and Greenland, as well as the Faroe Islands, constitute the Kingdom of Denmark . It is the southernmost of the Nordic countries, southwest of Sweden and south of Norway, and bordered to the south by Germany. Denmark...

 or Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

) that include the use of crown and coronets. While most languages do not have a specific term for coronets, but simply use the word meaning crown, it is possible to determine which of those crowns are for peerage or lower-level use, and thus can by analogy be called coronets.

Precisely because there are many traditions and more variation within some of these, there is a plethora of continental coronet types. Indeed there are also some coronets for positions that do not exist or entitle one to a coronet in the Commonwealth
Commonwealth
Commonwealth is a traditional English term for a political community founded for the common good. Historically, it has sometimes been synonymous with "republic."More recently it has been used for fraternal associations of some sovereign nations...

 tradition.

Such a case in French ("old", i.e., royal era) heraldry, where coronets of rank did not come into use before the 16th century, is the vidame
Vidame
Vidame, a French corruption of the official Latin term vicedominus , was a feudal title in France...

, whose coronet (illustrated) is a metal circle mounted with three visible crosses (no physical headgear of this type known).

Often, coronets are substituted by helmet
Helmet
A helmet is a form of protective gear worn on the head to protect it from injuries.Ceremonial or symbolic helmets without protective function are sometimes used. The oldest known use of helmets was by Assyrian soldiers in 900BC, who wore thick leather or bronze helmets to protect the head from...

s, or only worn on a helmet.

Sources and external links