The Crown of Princess Blanche is the oldest surviving crown of England and has been described as one of the finest achievements of the Gothic goldsmiths

 
 

Made of gold with enamel, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, diamonds, and pearls, the Crown of Princess Blanche, also called the Palatine Crown or Bohemian Crown, is the oldest surviving royal crown known to have been in England, and probably dates to the years after 1370.

The crown came to the Palatinate line of the House of Wittelsbach in 1402 as a dowry of Princess Blanche of England, a daughter of King Henry IV of England, on her marriage to Louis III, Elector Palatine.

The Crown of Princess Blanche. Photo Credit

 

It is most likely, but not certain, that the crown belonged to Queen Anne of Bohemia, the wife of Richard II. Photo Credit

 

However, it is not thought that the crown was made for Blanche because it was first recorded in a list of 1399, recording the movement of some royal jewels in London, some two years before the marriage of Princess Blanche.

Experts believe that the crown probably belonged to King Edward III or Queen Anne of Bohemia, the wife of King Richard II, whom she married in 1382.

In 1402, Princess Blanche, the daughter of King Henry IV of England, married the Palatine Elector Ludwig III and the crown passed to the Palatine Treasury in Heidelberg as part of her dowry. Photo Credit

Detail of the circlet. Two of the rings surmounted with hexagons, with alternating arrangements of jewels and pearls. Photo Credit

The crown is in a fleur-de-lis (lily flower) shape, popular for medieval crowns, with twelve lilies rising from the circlet.

The circlet’s design is based on twelve gold rings beneath the lilies, mounted with hexagonal shapes in enamel and gold openwork.

 

The crown is today displayed in the treasury of the Munich Treasury. Photo Credit1 Photo Credit2

The lily stems are detachable, and the places on the crown where they fit are numbered I to XII so they can be re-attached correctly. Its height and diameter are both 18 cm. It has been described as “one of the finest achievements of the Gothic goldsmiths”.

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Since 1782, the crown is displayed in the treasury of the Munich Treasury with other jewels belonging to the Palatine branch of the Wittelsbach family.