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Chatelaine's Antiques & Appraisals Magazine > Jewelry > The Crown Jewels > The Danish Crown Jewels
 


Rosenborg Castle in Denmark has the history of the Danish Royal Family
Photos Copyright: The Royal Danish Collections 2003

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The Danish Crown Jewels

 
Danish Crown Jewels

The Crown Jewels of Denmark are the symbols of the monarchy.
The crown, the sceptre (symbolising supreme authority), the orb (symbolising the earth), the sword of state and the ampulla.
The Sceptre, Orb and Ampulla were made for the coronation of King Frederik III in Copenhagen Denmark in 1648 and are used at anointings during the period of Absolutism.

The Crown of the Absolute Monarchs. Christian V's 1671 crown was used by the Danish kings from Christian V to Christian VIII. Gold with enamel and table-cut stones and 2 garnets and 2 sapphires of which the largest dates back to Frederik I. Weighs 2080 grams.  Made by Paul Kurtz in Copenhagen, 1670-1671 The Crown is still used by the monarchs.

The Orb is gold with enamel and table-cut stones. Made in Hamburg Germany

 

danishcrown.jpg (11738 bytes)
The Queen's Crown was made for Queen Sophie Magdalene  in 1731 by court jeweller Frederik Fabritius. The table-cut stones are believed to have come from Queen Sophie Amalie's crown from 1648. It was in use until 1840. Particular to the Danish Royal Crown is the cross trefly on the top.


The Sceptre is gold with enamel and table-cut diamonds.

The Treasury of Rosenborg Castle displays the Crown Jewels, the Crown Regalia, the Crown of the Absolutist Kings and the Queens' Crown
The collection of Crown Jewels for use by the reigning Queen was established with the will of Queen Sophie Magdalene in 1746 and subsequently enlarged through gifts from later queens and princesses. For the last coronation of the absolute monarchy in 1840, Queen Caroline Amalie had the main part of the Crown Jewels put together in four sets consisting of, for example, tiara, necklace, brooch and earrings.

 

The Chain of the Order of the Elephant with Insignia, gold with enamel and table-cut stones. The Chain was possibly made in Copenhagen by the goldsmith Jean Henri de Moor after 1693; the elephant possibly by Paul Kurtz, 1671.


On the Crown Prince’s Knight of the Elephant escutcheon (his shield), the special Crown Prince’s Crown is depicted surmounting the pavillion. This crown is a smaller version of the Royal Crown.  They are only used on the shield (or stall-plates, as they were known) of the Knights of the Elephant. On all other occasions the Crown Prince would use the Royal Crown.

In 1694 Christian V approved different types of crown for the members of the Royal Family. 

 Originally there were more Danish regalia, but some were sold by Christian II in 1523 and others by Christian IV in the 1620's. The most important Regalia is the Crown of the Absolutist Kings. Unlike Christian IV's old-fashioned open crown, this crown is closed. The large sapphire in front can be traced back to Frederik I.

The Anointing Sword, also called the Anointing Rapier, far right, a wedding present from Christian IV to Frederik III in 1643.  The regal sword is made with gold & enamel, table-cut and rose-cut stones. Used by the Absolutist kings and possibly by Frederik III.

 

 The oldest of these is Christian III's sword of state from 1551.  Further elements in the regalia are the chains and insignia of the Order of the Elephant and the Order of Dannebrog, which the monarch wears on special occasions.  Since c. 1680 the crown jewels have been kept in Rosenborg Palace in Copenhagen.

The regalia were worn at the coronation of the elective monarchs, when the clergy and nobility placed the crown on the king's head.  After the introduction of absolutism in 1660 the crowning of the king was replaced by anointment, for which the king arrived in the church wearing the crown and was consecrated to his calling by being anointed with oil.

 For the anointing of Christian V, a new crown was made along with a throne of narwhal teeth (the unicorn's horn) and three silver lions.

 With the 1849 Constitution anointing was discontinued and since the crown jewels have only been used on the occasion of the monarch's castrum doloris when the crown is placed on the coffin and the other regalia laid at its foot, guarded by the three lions.

Photos used with permission
Copyright: The Royal Danish Collections 2003.

All property rights to photos and text in this website are owned by The Royal Danish Collections. No photos or text can be reproduced for commercial purposes without prior written consent from The Royal Danish Collections. For permission for use of reproductions of works in the collections, please contact the photo administration.: +45 33 15 76 19


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Rosenborg Castle
Rosenborg Castle was built in the years 1606-34 as the country residence of Christian IV outside the ramparts of Copenhagen. Christian IV was very fond of the palace. He often stayed at Rosenborg when residing in Copenhagen, and died there in 1648. After his death, the palace passed to his son, King Frederik III, who together with his Queen, Sophie Amalie, carried out several modernisations. The last King to reside at the palace was Frederik IV, and about 1720 Rosenborg gave way to Frederiksberg Castle as the preferred residence. 

Throughout the 18th century, considerable treasures were collected at Rosenborg Castle. The collection increased among other things from the estates of deceased royalty and after the fire of Christiansborg in 1794. Soon the idea of a museum arose. It was realised in 1833, which is the official year of the foundation of The Chronological Collection of the Danish Kings. In 1838, the palace was opened to the general public. A tour of Rosenborg presented the history of the Royal House from the age of Christian IV to the visitor’s own time. When the palace was opened, a room had been arranged with souvenirs of Frederik VI, even though the King did not die until the following year. The chronological review and the furnished interiors, which even today remain the characteristics of Rosenborg, were introduced here for the first time in European museum history. The collection continued to grow, and in the 1960s the initiative was taken to set up a section at Amalienborg Palace for the more recent part of the Royal House. This was realised in 1977, and since 1994 with rooms at Christian VIII’s Palace. The line of division between the two sections was drawn at 1863 so that the Kings of the House of Oldenborg are to be found at Rosenborg and the Kings of the House of Glücksborg at Amalienborg. 

Exhibits at Rosenborg that have a particular connection with the Royal House 

The Crown of Christian 5. from 1670, which was used at the coronations of all the Absolutist Kings, the last time in 1840. The Crown is still used on the occasion of the monarch’s castrum doloris, the last time in 1972. 

The Crown Jewels date back to Christian VI’s Queen, Sophie Magdalene. In her will of 1746, she directed that her jewellery should not become the possession of any one person, but always be at the disposal of the Queen. The Crown Jewels have increased several times, and in their present form date from 1840. The Crown Jewels consist primarily of four large sets of jewellery: two with brilliants, one with emeralds and brilliants, and one with rubies, pearls and brilliants. Also today, the Crown Jewels are at the disposal of HM The Queen, who uses them one or more times a year. This is generally in connection with the New Year levee and in connection with state visits and other events in the Royal House. 

The royal baptismal font and basin. The christening basin is of pure gold, and since 1671 this basin has been used for the christening of all royal children. Originally the name and day of christening of the child were engraved on the back of the basin, but at the end of the 18th century there was no more room. The christening set also includes a water pitcher and two candlesticks, all of pure gold. In connection with a christening, the basin is placed in a baptismal font of gold-plated silver. At the time of writing, the font and the basin were most recently used in the autumn of 2002 when Prince Felix was christened in Møgeltønder Church. 

For further information, please see the website of Rosenborg Castle.

 

 

Collections
The Royal Collections belong to or are linked to HM The Queen. The Collections include among other things the Crown Jewels, the Royal Stables and Coaches, the Tapestries at Christiansborg Palace and HM The Queen’s Reference Library. The Library takes up approximately three kilometres of shelves and includes a collection of books that is growing day by day, a small collection of manuscripts, a collection of maps, a collection of pictures (drawings, watercolours, prints, photographs etc), Frederik IX’s collection of music and film and a minor collection of records. Today, all of the collections are open to the general public. 

H.M. The Queen's Reference Library 
Credits: Finn Christoffersen


Rosenborg Castle
Rosenborg Castle was built in the years 1606-34 as the country residence of Christian IV outside the ramparts of Copenhagen. Christian IV was very fond of the palace. He often stayed at Rosenborg when residing in Copenhagen, and died there in 1648. After his death, the palace passed to his son, King Frederik III, who together with his Queen, Sophie Amalie, carried out several modernisations. The last King to reside at the palace was Frederik IV, and about 1720 Rosenborg gave way to Frederiksberg Castle as the preferred residence. 

Throughout the 18th century, considerable treasures were collected at Rosenborg Castle. The collection increased among other things from the estates of deceased royalty and after the fire of Christiansborg in 1794. Soon the idea of a museum arose. It was realised in 1833, which is the official year of the foundation of The Chronological Collection of the Danish Kings. In 1838, the palace was opened to the general public. A tour of Rosenborg presented the history of the Royal House from the age of Christian IV to the visitor’s own time. When the palace was opened, a room had been arranged with souvenirs of Frederik VI, even though the King did not die until the following year. The chronological review and the furnished interiors, which even today remain the characteristics of Rosenborg, were introduced here for the first time in European museum history. The collection continued to grow, and in the 1960s the initiative was taken to set up a section at Amalienborg Palace for the more recent part of the Royal House. This was realised in 1977, and since 1994 with rooms at Christian VIII’s Palace. The line of division between the two sections was drawn at 1863 so that the Kings of the House of Oldenborg are to be found at Rosenborg and the Kings of the House of Glücksborg at Amalienborg. 

Exhibits at Rosenborg that have a particular connection with the Royal House 

The Crown of Christian 5. from 1670, which was used at the coronations of all the Absolutist Kings, the last time in 1840. The Crown is still used on the occasion of the monarch’s castrum doloris, the last time in 1972. 

The Crown Jewels date back to Christian VI’s Queen, Sophie Magdalene. In her will of 1746, she directed that her jewellery should not become the possession of any one person, but always be at the disposal of the Queen. The Crown Jewels have increased several times, and in their present form date from 1840. The Crown Jewels consist primarily of four large sets of jewellery: two with brilliants, one with emeralds and brilliants, and one with rubies, pearls and brilliants. Also today, the Crown Jewels are at the disposal of HM The Queen, who uses them one or more times a year. This is generally in connection with the New Year levee and in connection with state visits and other events in the Royal House. 

The royal baptismal font and basin. The christening basin is of pure gold, and since 1671 this basin has been used for the christening of all royal children. Originally the name and day of christening of the child were engraved on the back of the basin, but at the end of the 18th century there was no more room. The christening set also includes a water pitcher and two candlesticks, all of pure gold. In connection with a christening, the basin is placed in a baptismal font of gold-plated silver. At the time of writing, the font and the basin were most recently used in the autumn of 2002 when Prince Felix was christened in Møgeltønder Church. 

For further information, please see the website of Rosenborg Castle.



History
The Danish Royal House may be traced back to Gorm the Old and his son Harald I Bluetooth. The latter can be dated and located with certainty as he united Denmark. The two great lines of the Danish Royal House are the House of Oldenborg and the House of Glücksborg. The first representative of the House of Oldenborg became King in 1448, and the last King of the House of Oldenborg was King Frederik VII, as he had no heir to the throne. In 1863, the first representative of the House of Glücksborg became King, and the present Royal Family are direct descendants of this Royal House.


Order of the Elephant 
Credits: Finn Christoffersen

 




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