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Crown (headgear)
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Crown (headgear)

This article is part of the
Hats and Headgear series:
Overview of headgear
Hats; Bonnets; Caps
Hoods; Helmets; Wigs
Masks; Veils; Scarves
Tiaras; Crowns
List of hats and headgear

A crown is a symbolic form of headgear worn by a monarch or by a god, for whom the crown is traditionally one of the symbols of legitimacy (See Regalia for a broader treatment). In Byzantine and European cultures, where ecclesiastical sanction authenticates monarchic power, when a new monarch assumes the throne in a coronation ceremony, the crown is placed on the new monarch's head by a religious official. Some, though not all early Holy Roman Emperors travelled to Rome at some point in their careers to be crowned by the pope. Napoleon surprised Pius VII when he reached out and crowned himself, a brilliant coup.

Today, only the British Monarchy continues this tradition as the sole remaining anointed monarch, and most other monarchies of the world no longer have an actual, physical crown that is used as a politicial symbol.

Similar headgear, worn by nobility and other high ranking people below the ruler, is the coronet.

Special headgear to designate rulers dates back to pre-history, and is found in many separate civilizations around the globe. Commonly rare and precious materials are incorporated into the crown. Gold and precious jewelss are common in crowns. In the Native American civilizations of the Pre-Columbian New World, rare feathers, such as that of the quetzal, often decorated crowns.

In Classical antiquity the crown (corona) that was sometimes awarded to people other than rulers, such as triumphal military generals or athletes, was actually a wreath or chaplet, or ribbonlike diadem.

As an emblem

A Crown is often an emblem the monarchy, a monarch's government, or items endorsed by it; see The Crown. A crown or coronet is employed in heraldry under strict rules.

Costume headgear imitating a monarch's crown is also called a crown. Such costume crowns may be worn by actors portraying a monarch, people at costume parties, or ritual "monarchs" such as the king of a Carnival krewe, or the person who found the trinket in a king cake.

Children, generally girls, sometimes connect flowers together in chain, and wear the wreath as if it was a crown.

Notable crowns

Related: diadem, tiara (also papal tiara)