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The legend about the Crown of Saint Wenceslas: any usurper who places it on his head is doomed to die within a year

Marija Georgievska

The Crown of Saint Wenceslas was made in 1347 and is a crown forming part of the Bohemian Crown Jewels. The crown was dedicated to the first patron saint of the country St. Wenceslas by the eleventh king of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperor Charles IV from the House of Luxembourg.

He made it for his coronation and it was the state crown for the coronation of future Bohemian kings. It was used the last time for the coronation of Ferdinand V in 1836.

The original Crown of Saint Wenceslas during its exhibition in 2016. Photo Credit

The original Crown of Saint Wenceslas during its exhibition in 2016 Photo Credit

 

Detail of painting of the Coronation of Ferdinand V.

Detail of painting of the Coronation of Ferdinand V

The Crown is made of 21 to 22 karat gold and it’s decorated with precious stones and pearls. It contains a total of 19 sapphires, 44 spinels, 1 ruby, 30 emeralds and 20 pearls. Each of these pieces is adorned with a curious fleur-de-lis composition which rises up from the headband. According to an old Czech legend, it is said that any usurper who places the crown on his head is doomed to die within a year, as the Crown is in personal property of St. Wenceslas and may only be worn by a rightful Bohemian king during his coronation.

Reinhard Heydrich, the Deputy Protector of Bohemia and Moravia, secretly “crowned” himself during the World War II while inspecting St. Vitus Cathedral, and was assassinated less than a year by the Czech resistance. There is no hard evidence about this story but the legend is widely believed.

Coronation jewels of Bohemia. Photo Credit

Coronation jewels of Bohemia  Photo Credit

 

The Crown of Saint Wenceslas is a crown forming part of the Bohemian Crown Jewels, and made in 1347. Photo Credit

The Crown of Saint Wenceslas is a crown forming part of the Bohemian Crown Jewels, made in 1347 Photo Credit

The St. Wenceslas Crown is not displayed publicly and only a replica is shown. Along with the other crown jewels, it is kept in a chamber within St. Vitus Cathedral accessible by a door in the St. Wenceslas Chapel.

The crown jewels include a royal orb and scepter from the beginning of the 16th century. The exact location of the chamber is unknown. The crown has been kept here since 1867 apart from the short period when it was walled away in 1945.

Copy of the Crown of St. Wenceslas in the Prague Castle. Photo Credit

A copy of the Crown of St. Wenceslas in the Prague Castle Photo Credit

 

Detail of the cross on the St. Wenceslas Crown. Photo Credit

Detail of the cross on the St. Wenceslas Crown Photo Credit

The entrance to the jewels is locked by seven locks whose keys are held by the President of the Czech Republic, the Chair of the Chamber of Deputies of the Parliament, the Chair of the Senate of the Parliament, the Prime Minister, the Mayor of Prague, the Archbishop of Prague and the Dean of Metropolitan Capitale in Prague.

Read another story from us: The Iron Crown of Lombardy was forged with iron from a nail used during Christ’s Crucifixion

Because the crown is locked so tightly it is believed that it lies under a magic curse.