HISTORY OF THE HANOVERIAN REGALIA
BY MARIUSZ PAZDZIORA
The Kingdom of Hanover was created in 1815. Until 1837 Hanover remained in personal union with Great Britain. British kings, who simultaneously were kings of Hanover, saw no reason for having a separate set of Hanoverian regalia commissioned. When the two realms separated in 1837 following King William IV’s death, the new King of Hanover, Ernest I Augustus, decided to order a set of regalia for his kingdom. The Hanoverian regalia were commissioned in December 1842. The order for two crowns and a sceptre was placed by the Hanoverian finance minister von Schulte with jewelers Georg Knauer (who was the court jeweler of the king of Hanover) and Wilhelm Lameyer. The crown which had been designed by G. L. Laves was remotely shaped on English St Edward’s Crown.
The King’s Crown, which is a corona clausa, is made of gold rim with 4 crosses alternating with 4 palmettes constituting bases for eight gold arches. It is surmounted by a globe of blue enamel with a gold cross. The crown is set with numerous gemstones (6 sapphires, 4 emeralds, 10 rubies). Inside the crown there is a cap made of purple velvet. Height of the crown is 26 cm, diameter of the rim is 17,5 cm.
The Queen’s Crown, made of gold, with no gemstones, is similar but smaller.
The Sceptre, topped with a gold globe of blue enamel with a cross, is made of gold and set with numerous gemstones (16 rubies, 16 diamonds, 14 emeralds and 5 sapphires).
As the coronation was never introduced in the Kingdom of Hanover, the Hanoverian regalia fulfilled only the role of personal regalia of the House of Hanover and never acquired such significant national importance as e.g. Hungarian or Czech regalia. The Hanoverian regalia were used for the first time on the occasion of the wedding of Crown Prince George (the future King George V) in 1843 when they were exhibited in Leineschloss in Hanover. In November 1851 the regalia were used again during the burial ceremony of King Ernest I Augustus. The crown and the sceptre were placed by the king lying in state in the Throne Hall of Leineschloss where 30.000 people filed past it and could have a close look of the Hanoverian regalia for the first time. Later when king’s coffin was buried in the Herrenhausen Mausoleum, the crown and the sceptre were placed on the altar in the burial chapel.
Following the occupation and annexation of Hanover by Prussia in June 1866, the regalia of Hanover were hidden at Marienburg Castle. In March 1867 they had been smuggled out at night to Blumenau and prepared for secret transfer to England. They had been dispatched by train to Cologne and then smuggled out to Calais in France from where they were sailed to England and deposited in the vaults of Coutts Bank in London. In 1869, on the wish of the exiled Queen Marie of Hanover, the regalia were transferred via France and Switzerland to Gmunden in Austria where the Hanoverian royal family had found asylum. The crown of Hanover was used during King George V’s burial at Windsor in June 1878. Afterwards it was sent back to Gmunden in Austria, the home of the Hanoverian royal family in exile. It was used for the last time in 1923 at Gmunden during the burial of the Crown Prince Ernest Augustus of Hanover, the Duke of Cumberland. In 1925 the Hanoverian regalia had been inherited by his son and the head of the House of Hanover, former Duke of Brunswick, Ernest Augustus and transferred to Schloss Blankenburg in Germany. In 1945 they were smuggled from the Soviet occupation zone of Germany, where Blankenburg was located, to the British zone which comprised of the territories of the former Kingdom of Hanover. Hanoverian regalia are a private property now and are kept in an unspecified location in Germany. They include:
-Sceptre of Hanover.
Storch D., Die hannoversche Königskrone, Hildesheim 1995
Coronation was not adopted in Hanover.
HANOVERIAN ROYAL RESIDENCES
(The list includes only the most important and existing royal residences)
Cumberland Castle (Schloss Cumberland; the exile residence of the Hanoverian royal family. Today a state property).
Queen's House (Königinnenschloss; a retreat of the last queen of Hanover, Marie. Today owned by descendants of King George V of Hanover).
Gmunden, Cumberland Castle and Queen's House
(reproduced courtesy of Mr Alexander Krischnig)
Leineschloss (residence of electors and kings of Hanover, now the seat of the Regional Parliament).
Hanover, Leineschloss. ©ARB
Wangenheim Palace (Wangenheim Palais; former residence of King George V).
Hanover, Wangenheim Palace. ©ARB
MARIENBURG NEAR SCHULENBURG:
Schloss Marienburg (former residence of the royal family, now a museum).
Schloss Marienburg. ©ARB