Crown of Napoleon
Learn more about Crown of Napoleon
The Crown of Napoleon was a coronation crown manufactured for the self-proclaimed Emperor Napoleon I of France. He used it in his coronation on December 2 1804. Napoleon called his new crown the Crown of Charlemagne, the name of the ancient royal coronation crown of France that had been destroyed in the French Revolution, a name which allowed him to compare himself to the famed mediæval monarch Charlemagne, King of the Franks and Holy Roman Emperor.
The French Revolution of the 1790s had led to the destruction of most of the ancient French Crown Jewels along with the eventual abolition of the French monarchy and the execution of King Louis XVI and Queen Marie Antoinette.
In the coronation itself, which took place not in the traditional location of French royal coronations, the Cathedral in Reims, but in Notre Dame in Paris , he actually used two crowns. Initially he placed a laurel crown of the Roman emperors on his own head. (see image below) Afterward he briefly placed the imperial Charlemagne crown on his head, then touched it to the head of his empress, Josephine.
As was the norm with European crowns, Napoleon's crown is made up of eight half-arches which meet at a golden globe, on top of which is placed a crucifix. The crown itself is mock mediæval in style, reliant totally on gold and metallic decoration and devoid of the major covering with diamonds and jewels fashionable in crowns made later in the 19th century.
 After the Empire
The Crown of Napoleon was used until his second overthrow in 1815. King Louis XVIII, brother of Louis XVI, was installed on the throne as King of France following Napoleon's overthrow. In contrast both to his brother and to Napoleon, the new king opted not to have a coronation. When his brother, Charles X became king in 1824, he reinstated the traditional monarchical coronation in Reims and was crowned using the remaining pre-revolutionary French royal crown, the Crown of Louis XV. No more French coronations, either imperial or royal, followed Charles X's overthrow in 1830.
When Napoleon III proclaimed himself French emperor in 1852 he opted neither to have a coronation nor to wear Napoleon I's crown. Nevertheless, a crown was created for Empress Eugenie, the Crown of Empress Eugenie.
 Sale of the French Crown Jewels
In 1885, to impede any further attempts at royal or imperial restorations, the French National Assembly opted to sell most of the French Crown Jewels. Only a handful of crowns were kept for historic reasons, and they had their precious jewels replaced in them by decorated glass. Napoleon I's crown was one of the few kept. It is now on display in the Louvre museum in Paris.