AskDefine | Define crowning

Dictionary Definition

crowning adj
1 representing a level of the highest possible achievement or attainment; "the crowning accomplishment of his career" [syn: crowning(a)]
2 forming or providing a crown or summit; "the crowning star on a Christmas tree"; "her hair was her crowning glory"

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. present participle of crown

Extensive Definition

A coronation is a ceremony marking the investment of a monarch with regal power through, amongst other symbolic acts, the placement of a crown or coronet upon his or her head. Where the monarch is anointed, the ritual may have religious significance. Coronation remains the norm for the formal installation of the monarch of the Commonwealth Realms.
Formerly, in many kingdoms and empires, the coronation was a highly solemn ceremony in which anointing with holy oil, followed by ratification as the proper occupant of the throne, were important parts. This is still the case in the United Kingdom, one of the few nations that continues formal coronations to this day, and was true for the historical monarchies of France, and many other former kingdoms and empires.
The term 'coronation' is sometimes used in a semi-ironic sense to refer to uncontested party leadership elections, with all potential party leaders choosing to back a single candidate or stay silent rather than stand in an election they are likely to lose This typically happens where there has been a protracted behind-the-scenes attempt to remove the outgoing leader, leading to a significant amount of time to discover who has the most party support before the election proper.

In Antiquity

The Shahs of the Achaemenid Persian Empire were crowned with the diadem by a high priest of the Zoroastrian religion.
The Roman Emperors, traditionally acclaimed either by the senate or by a legion speaking for the armies as a whole, were confirmed by the other body, without a coronation. The Eastern diadem was introduced by Diocletian. In theory, the Imperial crown should be imposed by a representative of those who conferred the sovereign authority that it symbolized; and, in the 4th century, the Prefect Sallustius Secundus crowned Valentinian I (in whose election he had taken the prominent part). But the Emperor seems to have felt some hesitation in receiving the diadem from the hands of a subject, and the selection for the office was likely to cause jealousy. Yet, a formality was necessary. In the 5th century the difficulty was overcome in an ingenious and tactful way. The duty of coronation was assigned to the Patriarch of Constantinople, possibly at the coronation of Marcian (AD 450), but certainly at the coronation of his successor Leo (457).

Since the feudal age

A coronation following the Byzantine formula was instigated with the coronation of King Clovis of the Franks at Rheims (497), in which a dove was made to descend with an ampoule of oil, with which the king was anointed. All succeeding kings of France were anointed — with the same oil, miraculously resupplied — and crowned at Rheims.
Coronations are often centuries-old ceremonies with a great many formal and solemn traditions. Usually the climax of the coronation ceremony is the monarch's recital of an oath, followed by a religious leader placing a crown on the monarch's head. Some monarchs have crowned themselves: this was the custom of the Shahs in Iran, the Tsars of Russia and self-proclaimed monarchs like the Bonaparte Emperors of the French.
The crown is not the only item bestowed on a sovereign at his or her coronation. Usually there is an orb and sceptre and — depending on the country — other items from the crown jewels, all highly charged with historic, religious, and territorial symbolism.
The ceremony usually takes place in the premier cathedral or most holy basilica of a country, often in the present or former monarchical and/or ecclesiastical capital. In the United Kingdom, the coronation ceremony takes place in Westminster Abbey, with the monarch seated on the ancient St. Edward's Chair, or Coronation chair, (which includes the Stone of Scone). The French monarchs were crowned at Notre-Dame de Reims.
A coronation ceremony is generally religious in character, because from the earliest times it was believed that monarchs were chosen by God, in accordance with the Divine Right of Kings; hence, the crown was bestowed by God himself. Many sovereigns are still proclaimed Monarch "by the grace of God". Historically this fact was used as a defence of absolute monarchy.
Among the last grand coronation ceremonies the world saw were those of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi of Iran in 1967 and that of the Central African Republic's president Bokassa in 1977. Furthermore, grand ceremonial is still customary in some South East Asian monarchies, notably for the King of Thailand, the Sultan of Brunei and King of Malaysia, where every five years one of the constitutional state monarchs (Sultans and one Raja) is crowned Yang di-Pertuan Agong (Paramount Ruler), i.e. elective head of state of the federation. The eventual successor to Queen Elizabeth II, be it Prince Charles or Prince William, will almost certainly have a grand coronation, in keeping with British Imperial tradition, and because he may at the same time receive the title of Head of the Commonwealth (subject to agreement of the member states of the Commonwealth).

External links

crowning in Czech: Korunovace
crowning in Danish: Kroning
crowning in German: Krönung
crowning in Spanish: Consagración real
crowning in French: Sacre
crowning in Korean: 대관식
crowning in Italian: Incoronazione
crowning in Hebrew: הכתרה
crowning in Malay (macrolanguage): Kemahkotaan
crowning in Dutch: Kroning
crowning in Japanese: 戴冠式
crowning in Norwegian: Kroning
crowning in Polish: Koronacja
crowning in Russian: Коронация
crowning in Simple English: Coronation
crowning in Swedish: Kröning

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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