German Crown Jewels
Learn more about German Crown Jewels
The term "German Crown Jewels" can mean several things.
Since Germany was always a confederation of different monarchies during the Holy Roman Empire and even during the time of the German Empire (Kaiserreich or Deutsches Reich), there were no German Crown Jewels as such.
Crown jewels were either absent or technically belonged to other monarchies:
- the Holy Roman Empire which was far larger then Germany, and almost from the started had ceased to be a political unity, did have physical regalia - please see Imperial Regalia;
- during the Confederation of the Rhine (Rheinbund), there was no actual German states, just an alliance of most German (de facto vassal) rulers (Prussia, the only major power, never joined), without a Head of State, but in stead the French Emperor Napoleon I Bonaparte, styled Protector (meaning foreign hegemon), and in stead of a Head of government just the Fürstprimas (the presiding German member ruler);
- after a short period without any central institutions of notable standing, there were two periods in which one of the major German-speaking powers presided over a loose confederation, without central government or monarchy of its own, so no tangible 'German' regalia at all:
- the German Confederation (1815-1866) roughly resembled the Holy Roman Empire, presided by the Austrian imperial house of Habsburg (represented at the Frankfurt parliament by an Austrian presidential envoy)
- as the name suggests, the North German Confederation (1866-1871) didn't include southern Germany, but was essentially German again, presided by the Prussian kings, without any regalia at the 'German' confederal level
- the German Empire, uniting Germany under Prussia's dynasty, the house of Hohenzollern; it continued using the family's (royal) Prussian Crown Jewels as the whole Reich had no physical Crown jewels, even the German State Crown only existed emblematically, i.e. as a model;
- the various constitutive German monarchies (from Kingdoms and (Grand) duchies down to lowly baronies and lordships).
Since the end of the Germanic monarchies in 1918, the regalia and jewels of the different states have been kept in museums since all of Germany remains under republican rule.