Canada Unveils New Heraldic Crown Emblem Stripped of Religious Symbols

Canada’s new royal crown emblem unveiled by the Canadian Heraldic Authority (CHA) during King Charles III’s coronation over the weekend has been stripped of all previous religious symbols such as crosses and the fleur-de-lis.

Titled the Canadian Royal Crown, the new emblem is only a symbol and not a material object, according to Gov. Gen. Mary Simon’s office, which oversees the CHA.

The new emblem’s design was approved in April 2023 by King Charles on Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s advice, according to Simon’s office, which notes that the design is based on the real St. Edward’s Crown that was used during the king’s coronation on May 6.

However, the new design has instituted a number of changes from the previous St. Edward’s Crown emblem—most prominently replacing the cross at the crown’s tip with a large stylized snowflake, which Simon’s office calls “a reference to Canada being a northern realm.”

“This new version is based on the actual crown used at the coronation, but highly stylized for its use as a heraldic emblem and a national symbol,” writes Simon’s office in a description of the new emblem. “It incorporates elements emphasizing the Canadian identity of the monarchy.”

The crown’s new design was requested by the federal government and created by Cathy Bursey-Sabourin, who is the Fraser Herald and principal artist at the CHA.

Canada’s previous royal crown emblem also featured several smaller crosses and two fleur-de-lis along with a number of red, green, and blue gemstones across its middle.

The new design replaces all of these with large golden maple leaves and a simple blue band, while keeping the golden arches set with pearls and the red cap within the crown itself.

The new emblem also features several triangular shapes throughout, which Simon’s office calls “a nod to the importance of Canada’s landscape and the environment.”

“Like the snowflake, these forms recall the design of the Canadian Diadem and allude to Canada’s rugged landscape, with its many mountain ranges and valleys,” the office writes.

“Instead of the jewels on the rim, there is a wavy band of blue, symbolizing the country’s many lakes and rivers, as well as its three ocean borders. This blue band, and the water it represents, emphasize the importance of the environment to Canadians, as well as Indigenous teachings that water is the lifeblood of the land.”

The Canada Coat of Arms—which also sports the St. Edward’s Crown at its top along with a number of fleur-de-lis—is yet to be updated with the new heraldic crown design. However, the governor general’s office says changes to the coat of arms and Canada’s other official “symbols of sovereignty” will be coming within the next few years.

“This will be a gradual process, and existing versions of the emblems will remain valid and in use until they require replacement,” the office wrote.

Simon’s office also said there is currently no requirement that other organizations bearing emblems featuring the St. Edward’s Crown—such as military and police units, along with logos for government departments and private organizations with royal associations—be updated with the new design.

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