Emperor Christian Victor I

Emperor Christian Victor I

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Fascinating Fridays (Royal Family Crests)

We are all very familiar with the concept of a family crest and it more often than not immediately evokes a feeling of history, castles and royalty. However even though we might recognize a crest for what it is, our modern mindset does not always wrap around the deep significance and function of these archaic symbols. Contemporary company logos serve to identify a company clearly and simply within the mind of the consumer. These logos are often of basic eye catching design with clear and bold colours and meant to be easily recognizable images. Family and Royal Crests are similar to a "logo" but almost tells the story of the entire family history and its story cannot be absorbed whilst speeding past on a freeway.

In the Middle Ages, Crests were developed to serve as a form of long distance identification system. When a particular person was traveling, his banners could be recognized miles away and thus the onlooker could prepare a welcome or for war. During a battle these crests, clearly visible on banners and shields also served to identify the various commanders and their regiments, assisting in their maneuvers. This initial function also obviously denoted the commanders/royalty from the common man and for several centuries a crest was reserved for the aristocracy and claiming one meant that you were by default a highborn.

Today the original purpose of identification remains but serves to identify a particular person, family and even a sovereign state. In the case of a monarchy, the Royal Crest of the Monarch is at the same time the Crest of the Realm. There are sometimes many legal variants of a particular crest, especially in the case of Royal Families. Function and tradition dictates these variants. Let's look at some examples. 

The picture above is of the full crest of Her Majesty Queen Maria of Hispania and also serves as the symbol of the Kingdom of Hispania. Only the Queen herself and the National Government may use this version of the Crest but only the Queen applies it whereas the government will use the National Flag that is derived in its design from the Crest. 

This is the simplified version of the Royal Crest of Hispania and is legally used by the Queen and all members of the Blood Royal in Hispania. 

The Princess of Cataljone as heir to the Hispanian throne uses the simplified version on her official portraits. 

The full Imperial Crest of the United Empire of Scot-Britania serves as the Imperial standard of the Crown Prince Imperial in his pretense to the Imperial Throne.

The lesser Imperial Crest is a simplified version and is used by the other members of the Imperial family. 

In this portrait, Princess Augusta legally uses the lesser Imperial Crest. The red band at the bottom with the cross, signifies, the Order of the Diamond Star and may only be added by those who are members of the Order. 

Her Imperial Highness The Crown Princess Imperial, uses a variant of the Crest which is also used on the Imperial Flag. This variant may only be used by Emperor/ Empress and the Heir Apparent and his wife. 

This is the Imperial Flag that takes its design from the original Crest. 

The Imperial Crown and other parts of the Crest like the Three-headed Imperial Eagle may also be used by the Emperor and his heir and their spouses on official correspondence as can be seen in this invitation. This serves to officially designate the document as Imperial. 

When a monarchy is abolished and the Royal Dynasty is left in pretense to the throne, the new government might adopt new flags and national symbols. The former Crests that served as these symbols are then by default retained by the Royal Family as a Family Crest. As such it offers a unique record of history. 

The personal Crest of the Crown Princess Imperial is a unique version of the simplified Imperial Crest in Order to signify her position as the Crown Prince Imperial/ d'jour Emperor's wife and Consort. Technically, this Crest came into effect upon the death of the Empress Crystobel. Princess Odeliah as the Consort of Prince Christian-Victor is not a co-regent like her mother in law but a Consort, as such she may not use the Full Imperial Crest as that is reserved for the Emperor. 

It is common for the wife of a titled Royal to receive her own Crest upon marriage, especially if she already has one of her own by virtue of her titles. These Consort Crests are designed to show the union of marriage and will include elements of both families. Sometimes the design is a simple "half-half" splicing of the two Crests. 
The new Crest designed for Princess Marie-Elizabeth of Swann, who is due to marry the Arch Duke of Fulco DÉste in 2014 is an example of the traditional, wife's Crest. It combines the two Dynastic Houses' Crests into one and submits it to the Iron Crown of Fulco DÉste. 

During certain times in history certain fashions took hold of even the art of heraldry and applied certain popular artistic interpretations to Crests. The most famous was the "Silouetted Crest". Here follows an example; 
Above we see the basic Imperial Crest of Ruskiana, in colour and with no additions. 

The fashion before the Great War was to use a silhouette of the most basic part of the Crest. In the picture above, the Imperial Double Headed Eagle is clearly visible but just in silouette. 

Hopefully today's post will give you a sharper eye for the detail of Royal Crests and how to use them to identify some of our more prestigious personalities. 


  1. Hello from Spain: great royal crest. I like the jewelry and outfits., Nice pictures. Keep in touch

  2. I really enjoyed this post. I learned quite a bit about crests. I never fully understood what they were all about before, and I never took the time to learn, so this was great.

    1. I am very glad you enjoyed the post and learned something.