Saturday, 19 May 2012

Edinburgh 2 and Madrid, Toledo and Granada 3

Our next move westward has our meridian cutting closest through Edinburgh in Scotland (2 on the map) and Madrid, Toledo and Granada in Spain (3 on the map). Barcelona will be dealt with once we have circumnavigated the planet and return to Europe to deal with France and Paris. 

Britain/Edinburgh/Edinburgh Castle (Permanent Display 1crown)

Crown of Scotland

The Crown of Scotland is part of the collection known as the Honours of Scotland. A beautiful specimen of early renaissance craftsmanship, it is the oldest crown in Britain. The sovereign is never crowned with it, nor is it ever worn, but it is officially handed over to the sovereign in a ceremony held in Edinburgh shortly after the coronation in London.

Britain/Edinburgh/St. Andrew’s University (Permanent Display 1 coronet)

Crown of the Lord Lyon of Scotland

Spain/Madrid/Patrimonio Nacional (Periodic Display 2crowns)

Crown of Spain

This crown of Spain is merely a golden symbolic trinket, meant to replace the actual crown. The Crown Jewels were “lost” in an affair akin to the fairytales of Europe. During Napoleon’s invasion, the, then King ordered the crown jewels walled up in one of the rooms of the vast Escorial Palace, to keep them safe. He then kept a piece of the wall paper to remind him, on his possible return, of the room as it would be impossible to do so from memory, due to the size of the Escorial. The King fled into exile at peace that one day he, or his descendants would wear the crown again. However, the Napoleonic era was a time of great fashion and the governor of Spain upon occupying in Napoleon’s name, had the entire palace redecorated. Upon Napoleon’s defeat the Spanish King was happy to return home, only to find that the recovery of his amassed jewels had now become impossible. To this day it is still not financially viable to scan the palace for the hidden treasure and some believe it to be but a legend, or lost in a fire that damaged part of the Palace. One day though, we might witness a Spanish King, again crowned with the splendor of the Hapsburg and Bourbon Jewels. The current crown and the other jewels owned by King Juan Carlos I, is kept in trust by the Patrimonio Nacional and seemingly only displayed at official functions.

The "small" Crown of Spain

Sources are vague and information scarce about a second crown held in trust by the Patrimonio Nacional. This photo does exist and seems authentic to a trained jeweller's eye.

Spain/Madrid/Atosha Chapel (Permanent Display 1crown)

Crown/Coronet of Queen Isabella II

Queen Victoria of Great Britain followed the fashion among the royals of her time by having a small coronet made for ease of wear. Her Spanish counterpart had this crown made from diamonds and topazes. Isabella left the crown to the Atosha Chapel after her death where now it is still used to adorn their statue of the Virgin on high feast days. 

Spain/Madrid/National Archeological Museum (Permanent Display of 1votive crown)

Guarazzar Treasure, Votive Crown

The most significant archaeological find dating from pre-medieval times in Spain contained this strange ornament. It is actually a crown from a collection of three crowns in what is now famously known as the Guarazzar Treasure. This particular configuration is known as a votive crown and its use was not in adorning the head but was rather hung above the head when a monarch sat in state upon the throne. It would also be hung over holy altars and crypts.

Spain/Toledo/Toledo Cathedral (Permanent Display 1crown)

Crown of  Castille and Lyon

Spain/Granada/Royal Chapel (Permanent Display 1crown)

Crown of Isabella I

One of many crowns that must have belonged to Queen Isabella I of Spain. It follows the tradition of many other crowns that were donated to Cathedrals, Chapels or Monasteries by Catholic monarch throughout Europe. 

A few crowns are known to exist but have been sold to anonymous buyers and thus the whereabouts are unknown.

 Spain/Location Unconfirmed (Not Displayed)

A Spanish Ducal Coronet in gold, silver and diamonds. Originally made for a Duchess it was sold at auction in recent years.

(All images of the Crown Jewels of the United Kingdom are copyrighted to the Royal Collection. However the images on this blog are considered defaulted to the public domain due to age and ready sourcing from the internet. If an image on this blog is disputed it will be altered or removed following written protest from an authentic source. please contact me at


  1. I adore the pre-medieval crowns!

  2. Regarding the Spanish crowns: in Spain coronation ceremonies were abandoned in the late middle age, therefore there had not been proper regalia ever since then.

    As for the legend of the “loss” of the jewels, the king of Spain was not exiled but prisoner in France and nobody did any redecoration in el Escorial during the Napoleonic invasion, but the French utterly ransacked it, as they did with every other Spanish palace.

    The existing crown of Spain was made during the reign of Charles III (1759-1788). Surprisingly, it escaped the French greed.

    The small crown was offered to Juan Carlos I by the Majorca Jewellers Guild in the early 1980’s.

    The crowns of Isabella II are actually two, both following a very similar design but with different sizes and proportions. The one you show is the little one for the child Jesus, which is a bit smaller than queen Victoria’s small crown. The one for the Virgin of Atocha is larger. Both crowns consist of twelve thousand nine hundred and sixty six diamonds plus one hundred and thirty six topazes. They were made in 1852, that is 18 years before queen Victoria had her small crown made. I have only seen these four crowns once. For some reason none of them is on regular public display.

    The votive crowns of Guarrazar treasure preserved at the Archaeological museum are actually six. There used to be two more in the Royal Palace but one of them was stolen and never recovered.

    There is a peculiar royal crown preserved at Barcelona cathedral. It was made for the kings of Aragon in the thirteenth century and follows the model of a papal tiara but with only two crowns instead of three.



    1. Thank you so much for this comment Ricardo. I admit to not know everything about the crowns in Spain but i try and this blog is primarily about where they are found. Thank you for streamlining my historic account. Do you have a picture of the larger Isabella II crown as I would love to see it and even add it to this post with a relevant short story? Please email me if you do. Also, I took this long to reply as I have just added the Crown of Aragon in my very last post as I planned to do from the beginning. Hope youi enjoy that picture.

  3. Your Royal Highness Duke Daniel ~ I was most interested in your blog about the Royal Crowns of the world. I have one small correction. You used the word "Tongalese" as a term describing someone or something from the Kingdom of Tonga. The correct term is "Tongan". Please keep fascinating us with your wonderful blogs !