This page is part of © FOTW Flags Of The World website

Republics and Monarchical Symbols

Last modified: 2011-12-23 by rob raeside
Keywords: color | pantone | vexillology | blue | greece | israel | purple | red |
Links: FOTW homepage | search | disclaimer and copyright | write us | mirrors

See also:

How come some modern republics have taken up insignia from former monarchial eras in their present state symbols?

Serbia has a royal crown upon the shield in the state coat of arms, and so does Hungary. Actually, to do so says that they are kingdoms (just like if the official full name was "Kingdom of Serbia", "Kingdom of Hungary"), but they are not.

Russia has the old imperial crown in its state arms, but there it is within the shield so it does not have the same heraldic meaning.
Elias Granqvist, 24 February 2004

I don't know of any official explanations, but it strikes me that both Serbia and Hungary are proud of their heritage, and have no objection if those past glories include the existence of a monarch? It would appear they feel that expressing this pride through the display of former monarchical symbolism does not threaten their present republican status (and in my personal opinion nor should it)?

Then there is, of course, the undeniable fact that a crown gives a feeling of regal authority and of long-established legitimacy, with this latter being (perhaps and given the recent history of the two countries being discussed) an important factor?
Christopher Southworth, 24 February 2008

I would only add that there might also be an element of rejection of what is now seen as a communist aberration, and also emphasise Chris's use of the phrase 'past glories'; some countries might associate their monarchical past with some sort of golden age. (They're almost certainly misreading their history - but then, every country misreads its history).

I suspect that the monarchical symbols are 'just' historical allusions now - just as the crosses on Elias's flag and on Chris's and mine could hardly be said to represent Christianity any more.
André Coutanche, 24 February 2008

I agree in principle with Chris's and Andre's replies, but would in the case of Hungary add the thought that the Crown of St Stephen with its bent cross on top, seems to have acquired the status of a national symbol which transcends its former monarchical origins.
Andries Burgers, 24 February 2008

I think the post-communist countries want to express their link with the pre-communist countries. That such symbology might not take into account that they've become republics in the mean time might not be obvious to them. Then again, there are those in Serbia who would return to the Kingdom of Serbia, while the crown of Saint Stephen is in itself a symbol a Hungary.
Peter Hans van den Muijzenberg, 24 February 2008

Bear in mind that the coat of arms of San Marino, which has been a republic since the 4th century AD, incorporate a crown as a symbol of its sovereignty.

See: Heraldry of the World: San Marino
Mike Oettle, 24 February 2008

It even makes some sense, in a way. On the other hand, to place a royal crown on the state arms is the heraldic equivalent of naming the country "Kingdom of..."

The royal crown of Hungary is of course a symbol of Hungary, but it is a symbol of the Kingdom of Hungary, not of a Republic of Hungary. And the crown of San Marino is not a royal crown, as are the crowns which actually are used by Serbia and Hungary; had the later invented new crowns, I would never have asked the question.
Elias Granqvist, 24 February 2008

I would suggest that by placing the historic St Stephen's Crown above the Kossuth arms the Hungarians are saying (in fact and in effect) that modern Hungary is the rightful heir to the ancient glories of that country, is and firmly restating their current status as a fully independent power? Similarly I would further suggest that Serbia is making the same statement by restoring the 19th Century arms of that country, and at the same time distancing themselves from their more immediate past?

In England heraldic authority rests with the College of Heralds, who are subordinate to Her Majesty and it is she is the ultimate authority in all matter of heraldry. In English heraldic terms, to display a Royal Crown (as opposed to one of the other types of heraldic crown or a coronet) is the privilege of a crowned monarch, or has been granted by that monarch, or of a government which is responsible (either theoretically or actually) to such, however, in the absence of any heraldic authority who is to say what is right or wrong in the display of a crown? Or indeed, if the heraldic experts in Hungary (for example) say that it is OK to display a royal crown upon whatever occasion, who are we to argue with a decision taken in a sovereign country over their own affairs?
Christopher Southworth, 24 February 2008