Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Coronets: A Guide


The five degrees of the Peerage all have different coronets. In practice coronets are rarely, if ever, worn today except at coronations. They are, however, depicted on the majority of noble coats-of-arms.


A duke's coronet is a golden circlet with eight golden strawberry leaves around it (pointing up from it). The coronet itself is chased as if in the form of jewels (like a royal crown) but is not actually jewelled. It has a purple cap (lined ermine) in real life and a crimson one in heraldic representation. It has a gold tassel on top. The number of strawberry leaves and no pearls is what distinguishes a ducal coronet from those of other ranks.

Alternative description: The ducal coronet has undergone several modifications in form since it was first introduced in 1337. when Prince Edward of Woodstock, better known as the Black Prince, was created Duke of Cornwall by his father, Edward III. As now worn, it has eight golden leaves of a conventional type-the "strawberry leaves," so called - set erect upon a circlet of gold, and having their stalks so connected as to form a wreath. Of late years this coronet has enclosed a cap of rich crimson velvet surmounted by a golden tassel and lined and "guarded" with ermine.


A marquess's coronet is a golden circlet with four strawberry leaves around it (pointing up from it), alternating with four large silver balls (called pearls) on points. The coronet itself is chased as if in the form of jewels (like a royal crown) but is not actually jewelled. It has a purple cap (lined ermine) in real life and a crimson one in heraldic representation. It has a gold tassel on top. The alternation of strawberry leaves and pearls is what distinguishes a marquess's coronet from those of other ranks.




The coronet of an earl is a golden circlet as above but with eight strawberry leaves alternating with eight silver balls on tall spikes.

It has also been described thus: The coronet, which is one of the most striking, has, rising from a golden circlet, eight lofty rays of gold, each of which upon its point supports a small pearl, while between each pair of rays is a conventional leaf, the stalks of these leaves being connected with the rays and with each other so as to form a continuous wreath.







A viscount's coronet is as above but has sixteen small silver balls, called pearls, all set closely together directly upon the circlet.





The coronet of a baron is as above but has six large silver balls - pearls- set at equal distances on the circlet.

2 comments :

JonnyK said...

You can see examples of a marquess's coronet at Mount Stewart in the 'family room', the room they usher you into after the tour of the house.

Timothy Belmont said...

Jonny, I'm long overdue a tour of Mt Stewart House. I'll remember what you said, though.

Tim