Crowns are a symbol of absolute power. Therefore it makes sense that Denmark, one of the oldest monarchies in the world, has crowns dating all the way back to the 1500s.
The Crown of Christian V dates back to 1671. It was used by Christian V (1646-1699) and worn by all successive kings up until Christian VIII (1786–1848). After Christian VIII, the crown was no longer used for coronations or anointments because in 1849 Denmark adopted a constitutional monarchy. Being crowned or anointed wasn’t appropriate since Danish kings had limited powers and the public probably didn’t like the “anointed by God” explanation (just my guess!).
“Its rounded braces create a closed form inspired by the crown of the French king, Louis XIV, and symbolise the ruler’s absolute power. The crown’s braces meet at the top in a globe, or orb, which is a sign of power and dignity for monarchs. On top of the crown’s globe is a little cross, which in the symbolic language of the time showed that only the church stood above The Crown.” – The Danish Monarchy (You can understand why constitutional monarchs no longer wear crowns!!)
The crown was created by German goldsmith Paul Kurtz in Copenhagen. It’s made of gold and decorated with stones and enamel pieces. The crown holds a red velvet cap. You’ve probably seen the crown’s image in the Danish coat of arms.
Today’s crown is more unique than the other crowns we’ve looked at thus far. It has the usual orb and cross. But unlike the other crowns, Sweden’s Queen’s Crown is studded with 44 incredibly large diamonds. On November 26, 1751, King Adolf Fredrik and Queen Lovisa Ulrika were crowned at Stockholm Cathedral and this crown was made especially for Lovisa Ulrika’s crowning.
However, there is some drama involved with this crown. At one point, someone close to the queen replaced the diamonds with crystals and smuggled the diamonds out of Sweden and into the hands of an antiques dealer in Hamburg. Luckily (and to make a very long story short) the antiques dealer returned the diamonds to Sweden and they’ve been set in the crown ever since.
Let’s learn a little about Lovisa Ulrika. She was born in Berlin on July 24, 1720 to Frederick William I of Prussia and Sophia Dorothea of Hanover. She was also the sister of Frederick the Great. In 1744 she married Adolf Fredrik and they had five children together. Only four reached adulthood, of which two became kings: Gustav III and Karl XIII.
Lovisa Ulrika was an enlightened person. She established the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, which to this day promotes the arts and sciences. She built theaters, patronized the arts and cultivated acquaintances with intellectuals. But she was also politically ambitious and attempted to influence politics through her husband. For example, she led an unsuccessful coup d’état to reduce parliament’s power and strengthen her husband’s position. After the king’s death she was sidelined by her son, Gustav III. She died in 1782.
Yesterday when we chatted about Empress Eugénie’s pearl and diamond tiara, we also had a glimpse of her coronation crown. The crown was nestled within Winterhalter’s painting of Eugénie wearing her pearl and diamond tiara. So I thought you might like to see a photograph of the bejeweled crown.
Gabriel Lemonnier, who became the crown jeweler in 1853, designed and created the coronation crowns of Napoleon III and his consort, Eugénie. While the original coronation crown of Napoleon III is lost to history, Eugénie’s coronation crown is intact and on display at the Louvre Museum. Her crown is a smaller, lighter version of the crown made for Napoleon III.
It’s a unique piece; eight of the crown’s arches are shaped like the wings of eagles. The other arches are diamond-studded palmettes. The gold globe and cross are also made of diamonds. In total, there are 2,480 diamonds and 56 emeralds.
After claiming the throne of France, Napoleon Bonaparte commissioned the creation of a coronation crown. He referred to it as the “Crown of Charlemagne.” Perhaps, in his ambition to rule all of Europe, he envisioned himself as a modern-day Charlemagne. The medieval-style crown lacks gemstones, but is made of gold, shell cameos and carnelians. It’s topped with a small gold globe and a cross.
In 1887 the French Third Republic sold most of the crown jewels in the hopes that it would prevent a return of the monarchy. However, they kept a few items, such as Napoleon’s coronation crown, for historic purposes. Today it’s on display in the Louvre Museum.
It was tradition for French kings to have their own coronation crowns made. The coronation crown of Louis XV is composed of a satin cap encircled by a band of gilded silver and topped with diamonds forming a fleur-de-lis. It was worn only once, at the coronation in 1722. Shortly thereafter, the crown was delivered to the Royal Abbey Church of Saint-Denis (today it’s the Basilica of Saint-Denis) where it resided with other regalia. In 1729, Louis XV requested that the 282 diamonds, 64 gemstones and 237 pearls be replaced with paste. The crown, with its imitation paste jewels, has been at the Louvre since 1852.