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The Saxon kings of England wore crowns like those of other nations, which were at first only simple circlets of gold. King Egbert first adorned the fillet, or circle, with radiant points, similar to the crowns worn by the emperors of the East; and King Edmund, surnamed Ironside, tipped the points with pearl. William the Conqueror surmounted the circle with points and leaves, the points being much higher than the leaves, and each of them was tipped with three pearls; on the top of the cap, or tiara, was a cross pattée. William Rufus adorned his crown with points only, which were all tipped with pearls. The crown of Henry I. was adorned with fleurs de lis only; these fleurs de lis appear to have been originally designed to represent the heads of lances, and to have been borrowed from some military decorations of the ancient Germans. Maud, Queen of England, enriched her crown with leaves and points alternately, the leaves being higher than the points; and this custom remained unvaried until the accession of Edward III. He enriched his crown with fleurs de lis and crosses pattée. Edward IV. was the first English monarch who wore a close or arched crown; it was decorated with fleurs de lis and crosses pattée, and arched with four bars. Henry VII. and Henry VIII. had their crowns composed of fleurs de lis and crosses pattée, with two arches, embellished with pearls and precious stones; and this form has been since continued.
The ancient French crown was a circle of gold enamelled, of eight fleurs de lis, encompassed with eight arched diadems, bearing at the top a double fleur de lis, which is the crest of cognizance of France.
The Spanish crown was a circle of gold, richly decorated with jewels and precious stones, and adorned with eight leaves. It was not closed with arches until the marriage of Philip II. with Queen Mary of England, when four arches were added, being double the number
of those in the English crown. Those of Bohemia, Poland, Denmark, and Sweden, are similar to the Spanish; but no foreign crown has the velvet tiara or the ermine of the English crown.
The crown of Hungary, worn by the emperors of Austria, is double: the lower crown is similar to the Spanish; the upper is composed of sixteen plates of gold, from which two arches arise, having in the centre a cross, richly decorated at the extremities with pearls. The sixteen plates are enamelled with busts of Jesus Christ, the evangelists, and the apostles; so also is the flat part of the arches, the whole being enriched with pearls, diamonds, and precious stones.
Before concluding this part of the subject, it may be as well to describe the crowns or coronets worn by the princes of the blood and the English nobility. The crown of the Prince of Wales, when there is an heir apparent to the throne of Britain, is a circle of gold, surrounded with four crosses pattée, and as many fleurs de lis, set alternately. From the two centre crosses an arch rises, adorned with pearls, and surmounted by a ball and cross; within the coronet is a cap of crimson velvet, lined with white sarcenet, and turned up with ermine. The Prince of Wales has also another distinguishing ornament, viz., a simple coronet, surmounted with a plume of three ostrich feathers, and having the motto, “ Ich Dien," that is, “I serve.” This cognizance was first assumed by Edward, prince of Wales, commonly called the Black Prince, after the battle of Crecy, A. D. 1346, where, having killed John, king of Bohemia, he took from his head such a plume, and put it upon his own.
The CORONET of the Princes of the Blood-royal is composed of a circle of gold, richly chased, having on the edge two crosses pattée, two strawberry-leaves, and four fleurs de lis. Within the coronet is a crimson velvet cap, lined with sarcenet, and turned up with
ermine. On the top of the cap there is a rich tassel of gold and spangles.
The coronet of a Duke is a circle of gold, richly chased, having on the edge eight strawberry-leaves, which most probably were originally lance-heads, all of equal height; within is a crimson velvet cap, topped by a gold tassel, and turned up with ermine of one row. The coronet of a Marquis is a circle of gold, set round with four strawberry-leaves, and as many pearls, on pyramidal points of equal height, alternately. The cap is the same as that of the duke. An Earl's coronet has eight pyramidal points, with as many large pearls on the tops of them, placed alternately with as many strawberry-leaves, lower than the pearls. The cap and tassel are the same as before. Coronets were first assigned to earls in the reign of Henry III. The Viscount has only pearls, without any limited number, placed on the circle itself all round. The cap and tassel are the same as before. Coronets were first assigned to viscounts in the reign of James I. The coronet of a Baron has only six pearls set round the circle, at equal distances; before the reign of Charles II. barons wore simply a crimson cap, turned up with white fur, but that monarch assigned them coronets, and at the same time issued warrants permitting the peers of Scotland and Ireland to use coronets similar to those worn by noblemen of the same rank in England.
There is some reason to believe that King Alfred's crown was preserved in England until the time of the Commonwealth, for in the inventory of “that part of the Regalia which are now removed from Westminster to the Tower Jewel House,” we find the following entry: “ King Alfred's crowne, of gould wyerworke, sett with slight stones, and two little bells, p. oz. 79, at 31. per ounce, 2481. 10s. Od.” The purpose of such strange appendages as the bells is a matter not very
easy to discover, and the conclusion of the inventory puts an end to all conjecture, for, after enumerating the various antique regalia, and reciting their value, we find the following Vandal record: “ All these, according to order of parliament, are broken and defaced.”
The other crowns destroyed at this time are thus enumerated in the inventory :
“The imperiall crowne of massy gold, weighing 71b. 6oz., valued at 1,1101. Os. Od.
“The queen's crowne of massy gold, weighing 3lb. 10oz., valued at 3381. 3s. 4d.
“A small crowne found in an iron chest, formerly in the Lord Cottington's charge, [it was the crown of Edward VI.,] of the which the gold, 731. 16s. 8d.
“ And the diamonds, rubies, &c., 3551. Os. Od.
“ Queen Edith's crowne, formerly thought to be of massy gould, but upon triall found to be of silver gilt, enriched with garnetts, foule pearle, saphires, and some odd stones, p. oz. 50, valued at 161. Os. Od.”
King's Sceptre, with Cross. The SCEPTRE royal, which the sovereign bears in the right hand, is made of gold, and is two feet nine inches in length; it is richly adorned with precious stones, and the top rises into a fleur de lis of six leaves, three of which are erect and three pendent; out of this flower arises a mound formed of a large amethyst, garnished with precious stones, and upon the mound is a cross pattée of jewels, with a large diamond in the midst.
The sceptre is a more ancient emblem of royal dignity than the crown itself. Homer makes it the only cognizance of the Grecian kings; and the historian Justin declares that the ancient kings of Rome used no other ensign of royalty. The Greek poets describe the gods as bearing sceptres to indicate their empire, and declare that an oath taken on the sceptre was the most solemn that could be sworn. In Jacob's remarkable prediction of the Messiah, we find the sceptre specifically mentioned as the emblem of regal power: “ The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come.” Justin tells us that among the Romans the sceptre was originally a spear; but the sceptres described by Homer were simply long walking staves, designed to show that the monarchs ruled by acknowledged right, and not by force. Le Gendre tells us that in the first race of the French kings the sceptre was a golden rod, almost always of the same height as the king who bore it, and crooked at one end, like a crosier or pastoral staff.
The queen-consort's sceptre in England is formed like the king's, but it is shorter.
Queen's Sceptre. In the inventory of the Regalia destroyed in the time of the Commonwealth, we find the following entries of sceptres:
“Two sceptres, weighing 18oz., 601.
“Two sceptres, one sett with pearles and stones, the upper end gould, the lower end silver. The other silva gilt, with a dove, formerly thought gould,65l.168.101d"
Sceptre with Dove. The sceptre is placed in the king's right hand, and in his left, during the ceremony of investiture, he takes the Virge, or rod, which is carried before himn in the concluding procession. The distinction between the