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Though their original purpose was most likely to keep long hair out of a man's face, crowns evolved into a symbol of rank and position and were often emblazoned on heralds. Royal leaders wore them as a sign of power. They also wore them in battle to show that they were due special protection from their own soldiers.

Coronets of Rank


  • royal

  • royal 2
    Royal Crowns

  • royal3

  • duke

  • marquess

  • earl

  • viscount

  • baron

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Crest Coronets, Crowns, Chapeaux, and Chaplets

  • ducal coronet
    ducal coronet

  • chapeau

  • chaplet

  • crown triumphant
    crown triumphant

  • civic crown
    civic crown

  • mural coronet
    mural coronet

  • naval crown
    naval crown

  • eastern crown
    eastern crown

  • celestial crown
    celestial crown

  • astral coronet
    astral coronet

  • crown vallary
    crown vallary

  • palisado crown
    palisado crown

  • crown of charlemagne
    Crown of Charlemagne

  • hanover crown
    Hanover Crown

  • imperial crown
    imperial crown

  • king of arms
    King of Arms

Another crown which occurs, though rarely, in heraldic arms is the crown of Spain, described as:

A circle of jeweled gold, supporting eight strawberry leaves, no cap. Sometimes the crown includes four ogee arches, meeting under a mound and cross patée.

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The Heraldic Helmet

Helmets too served a purpose besides protecting one's head. The different designs of different helmets signified who was wearing them, be it a king, esquire, or knight.

  • king

  • duke2
    (i.e., duke, marquess, earl, viscount or baron)

  • knight or baronet
    knight or baronet

  • esquire

  • tilting helmet 1

  • tilting helmet 2
    tilting helmets

  • tilting helmet 3


  • heumes

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Ecclesiastical Hats and Crowns

Religions men too wore crowns. Similar to royal ones, the crowns and hats of the religious were signs of rank and standing within their religious order.

  • papal crown
    papal crown

  • bishop's mitre
    bishop's mitre
    (without and with ducal coronet)

  • ecclesiastical hat
    ecclesiastical hat*

* Ecclesiastical (or clergymen's) hats come in a variety of colors and tassel numbers, which when properly drawn indicate rank or calling. According to Boutell's Manual of Heraldry (pages 226-228) these are:

  • Crimson with fifteen tassels per side = a cardinal (the number was fixed in 1832)
  • Crimson with six tassels per side = a vicar
  • Violet with six tassels per side = a domestic prelate of the Pope
  • Green with ten tassels per side = continental archbishops and bishops
  • Black with three tassels per side = an abbot
  • Black with one tassel per side = any other clergyman

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