This exquisite crown is one of the most beautiful pieces of regalia designed for a Queen I have ever seen. The Crown of Princess Blanche, also called the Palatine Crown or Bohemian Crown, is the oldest surviving royal crown known to have been made in England and probably dates around 1370. It is a delicate and intricate piece of craftsmanship, made of gold, with enamel, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, diamonds and pearls. Its height and diameter are both 18 cm. It may have been the crown for Richard II’s Queen, Anne of Bohemia. It has been kept in Europe since 1402, when one of the English princesses left England to marry, and took the crown as part of her dowry.
The emblem of a crown, often made in precious metals and decorated with valuable jewels, has been a sign of rulership for thousands of years. It symbolises a certain kind of status. Not simply social recognition, as in an elected leader, but a divine role. The earliest pharoahs and kings were appointed by heaven. This meant they acted as the representative of ‘God’ on earth. The ceremony of crowning was accompanied by anointing with sacred oils. The human recipient was transformed into a heavenly being, fit to receive divine power. The crown was an indicator of that potency. (Just as an aside, a Queen, of course, was not usually expected to actually rule. She had no divine rights. She was simply a handmaiden to the male monarch.)
Religious leaders, like the Pope, were also crowned. The papal tiaras were often triple crowns of enormous value. In 1963 Pop Paul VI laid his tiara on the altar in a gesture of humility and said it would be sold, the proceeds to go to charity. The tiara was purchased by American Catholics, so it has been retained by the church. Some traditionalists believed abandoning the tiara was a sign that Paul VI was, in fact, an anti-pope.
In 2016, a fictitious Young Pope, as played by Jude Law in the TV series, claimed the triple crown, because he wanted to wear the full regalia. Very splendid he looked too!
Many non-European cultures have also created elaborate head decorations for their leaders and chiefs – native American feathered headresses make brilliant examples.
Where has the imagery of crowning come from? The headgear represents the divine light that can radiate from the crown of the head when a human being is illumined, or enlightened. When the ‘crown chakra’ is activated, we see a glow around the head. Spiritual masters, mistresses and saints are often depicted in paintings with circular haloes, or beams of light radiating from the head.
For many generations we have all assumed that this was a state of perfection only a few can achieve. Perhaps cosmic consciousness is a goal only for people willing to give up all wordly possessions and realtionships. But everyday householders like you and me, people with families and 9–5 jobs, we can also aspire to states of elevated consciousness. We already have haloes – they just need a bit of spit and polish! Radiant energy, like social justice, is for the many, not the few. Social justice and the solution to a crisis like climate change, will be more achievable when we collectively pay attention to our spiritual potential. Just as a monarch was put on a throne to act as a channel for heavenly intervention, so we as indivduals can contribute to creating Heaven on Earth.
Meditation is the most powerful tool for accessing the light which shines through all creation, and through each of us. This light will radiate through our daily lives, if we give it space. We won’t need kings, queens, popes or chieftans when we take up our individual and collective power and step into our inherited divinity, which is our birth right.