[ANSTHRLD] Royal Crowns (was Re: arms - your thoughts)

Darin Herndon darin.herndon at chk.com
Fri Aug 22 14:03:16 PDT 2008

Daniel wrote:
In the context of SCA heraldry: crowns get no difference from
coronets; I don't yet know of an SCA precedent that differentiates a
royal crown from a spotted or herbaceous crown, though perhaps the
English definition suggested by Brooke-Little (closed crown, wasn't
it?) controls; the only crown/coronet details I know of are that
strawberry leaves imply a ducal coronet and embattling implies a
comital coronet (from memory).

The differentiation of crowns from coronets is not a heraldic conflict issue but a sumptuary issue.  The relevant differences are contained in kingdom laws rather than the RfS.  We get focused on the Society documents and heraldic conflict checking rules but it is worth noting that they are only part of the body of work making up Ansteorran Laws of Arms.  Sumptuary law is a critically important item in our heraldic lexicon but one that does not get much attention.

Differing crowns from coronets is a matter of correctness and precision.  Much as we may argue blazons because getting it correct has an impact on what someone might reproduce, the correct use of the terms (in our context) has meaning.  A crown is worn by royalty and a coronet is worn by nobility.  A crown is regalia and a coronet is insignia.

Consider the term regalia.  I hear it used a lot in reference to the presented tokens or accoutrements that go with a particular award or order or concerning items invested to a landed B&B.  All of these items are insignia.  Regalia is "royal" insignia; belonging to and only worn (like the royal arms) by the Crown (or their herald).  Does the misuse of the word affect the day to day accomplishment of events; no.  Does it affect our recreation of medieval culture; yes.  That precision of wording was as guarded as the actual use of royal arms or insignia were guarded.  Rank and estate were zealously guarded so that when bestowed they had more impact and meaning.  When we loosen the terms and allow them to be used in a looser manner than is period, we lessen the impact of those words on our populace.  There really should be a difference in the awe felt by a member of the SCA when they are asked "Can you hold this insignia for a moment?" versus "Can you hold this regalia for a moment?"


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