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Canada: Christian symbols removed from royal crown

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Twitter / @Canadian_Crown

On the left, the old crown of Canada; on the right, the new one.

Cécile Séveirac - published on 05/19/23

During the coronation of King Charles III, the new Canadian royal crown was made public, with maple leaves and a snowflake.

Canada unveiled its new Royal Crown on May 6, 2023, the day of the coronation of King Charles III of England. The changes were approved by the king in April 2023, on the advice of the Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau.

The new crown is devoid of religious symbols, said Mary Simon, the Governor General of Canada (representative of the monarch), which refers to a desire to evolve “to meet the needs and circumstances of the country,” by incorporating “elements emphasizing the Canadian identity of the monarchy.

Since 1957, in accordance with the wishes of Queen Elizabeth II, the design of the crown has followed that of St. Edward’s Crown, used in the coronation ceremony.

New emblems

While the structure of the Tudor crown was retained, the heraldic cross and orb that adorned the top of the crown were replaced with a snowflake, “a reference to Canada being a northern realm.” The fleur-de-lis have been removed and replaced with the maple leaves found on the red and white flag of Canada. Finally, just below the maple leaves is a jagged line, meant to recall “Canada’s rugged landscape.” A blue line replaces the jewels to embody the lakes, rivers, and oceans that border the country: It emphasizes “the importance of the environment to Canadians, as well as Indigenous teachings that water is the lifeblood of the land.”

The new emblem will appear on the badges of Canada’s police and military, among others, but existing representations need not be changed or removed, the Governor General said. However, changes are expected to be made in the coming years to other symbols related to sovereignty, including the Canadian coat of arms, which is a direct reference to the British and French monarchies.

The new erasing the old?

While the snowflake has already been used on representations of the tiara crowning Elizabeth II’s head, the removal of the cross and orb raises questions about the total elimination of Canada’s link to British royalty and the erasure of Christian symbols. Some commentators have seen it as progress, noting Canada’s “multicultural and multi-religious character.”

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