By: Kimberly Rodrigues
Crowns are more than just a fashion statement or a piece of art. They are symbols of majesty, authority, and sovereignty, often containing rare jewels, precious metals, and luxurious velvet in deep, rich colours.
In today’s world, it is rare for monarchs to wear crowns, but images of crowns continue to be used in royal branding.
The British monarchy is an exception, with kings and queens undergoing a crowning ceremony.
In the UK, the crown encompasses both the monarch and the government, and as the coronation of King Charles III reminds us, the crown is also a superlative brand.
His reign is represented by the Tudor Crown, which appears in the king’s royal cypher, coat of arms, and the invitations for the coronation.
Even international audiences unfamiliar with British constitutional principles have come to understand the association between the crown and the government through the title of the Netflix drama “The Crown”.
As King Charles III’s coronation approaches, preparations are underway to display his image and cypher on various official documents and items, such as military uniforms, passports, and post boxes, not only in the UK but also in the 14 realms where he serves as head of state.
This momentous occasion marks the first coronation of a British monarch since 1953 and coincides with a time of evaluation for the monarchy, the royal family, and the Commonwealth.
Although other European monarchies such as Belgium, Denmark, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the Vatican are referred to as “crowned heads of state,” they do not have coronations and do not wear crowns, but instead use the crown as their emblem or marque, as demonstrated by Denmark and Luxembourg’s coats of arms.
During King Charles III’s coronation, the event will be a celebration of crowns with a total of seven being featured. The Archbishop of Canterbury will crown the king with St Edward’s Crown, which he will wear once.
However, during his departure from Westminster Abbey, the king will wear the lighter Imperial State Crown.
Queen Camilla will also wear a crown, Queen Mary’s Crown, becoming the first queen consort to be coronated since 1937.
In addition to these crowns, four other crowns will be present during the ceremony, worn by the kings of arms who regulate heraldry in the UK and participate in major ceremonial occasions.
The three kings of arms from England’s College of Arms will don crowns decorated with acanthus leaves and engraved with the words of Psalm 50, “Miserere mei Deus secundum magnam misericordiam tuam” which translates to “Have mercy on me, O God.”
The Scottish king of arms will wear a facsimile of the Scottish royal crown.
Heraldry, which can be viewed as an early form of branding, is used by many UK universities and organisations as their visual identity.
The exclusivity and majesty associated with royal crowns has led to the use of the crown as a brand name or logo by many organisations, even those with no direct association with monarchy.
Some brands, such as Twinings Tea, Heinz, and Waitrose, have been awarded a royal warrant and may use the royal coat of arms as a type of royal brand endorsement.
The Danish royal warrant permits an organisation to exhibit an image of the crown along with the company’s name on signs. Carlsberg beer is an outstanding illustration of this.
In certain cases, permission is granted to utilise the royal crown as a distinct brand emblem, as is the case with Royal Ascot horseracing, or in a coat of arms, such as that of the former Royal College of Science and Technology in Glasgow.
Although some brands have an official royal endorsement, most organisations with a crown name or logo have no direct connection to the monarchy.
The crown brand name is sometimes utilised for its cultural associations, as seen in the numerous British pubs named “The Crown.”
Regal branding has taken hold internationally. Among the companies using a crown name are Couronne (Korean handbags), Crown Bank (USA), Crown Class (Royal Jordanian Airways), Royal Crown Derby (English porcelain), Crowne Plaza Hotels (UK), Crown Royal (Canadian Whiskey), Crown Worldwide Distribution Group (Hong Kong) and Krone (South African sparkling wine).
Those with a crown logo include Columbia University (USA), Cunard (UK), Dolce & Gabbana (Italy), Hallmark Cards (USA), Moët and Chandon (France), Ritz Carlton Hotels (USA) and Rolex (Switzerland).
The Mexican beer brand Corona, which uses both a crown name and logo, is the most valuable beer brand in the world, worth US$7 billion.
Despite the prevalence of republics, the brand of the crown continues to thrive and maintain its significance. The coronation of the king and queen will be the apex of the coronation ceremony.
For brands like Corona beer and others that incorporate crowns into their branding across the globe, the association between the crown and monarchy serves as a reminder to consumers that their products are of exceptional quality, fit for royalty.