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Regalia is Latin plurale tantum for the privileges and the insignia characteristic of a sovereign.


The word stems from the Latin substantivation of the adjective regalis, "regal", itself from rex, "king". It is sometimes used in the singular, regale.

Regalia in the abstract

The term can refer to rights, prerogatives and privileges enjoyed exclusively by any sovereign regardless of title (emperor, grand duke, etc.) An example is the right to mint coins, especially with one's own effigy. In many cases, especially in feudal societies and generally weak states, such rights have in time been eroded by grants to or usurpations by lesser vassals.

Regalia as sovereign insignia

Some emblems, symbols, or paraphernalia possessed by rulers are a visual representation of imperial, royal or sovereign status. Some are shared with divinities, either to symbolize a god(ess)'s role as, say, king of the Pantheon (e.g. Brahman's sceptre) or to allow mortal royalty to resemble, identify with, or link to a divinity.

The term crown jewels is commonly used for regalia items designed to lend luster to occasions such as coronations. They feature some combination of precious materials, artistic merit, and symbolic or historical value. Crown jewels may have been designated at the start of a dynasty, accumulated through many years of tradition, or sent as tangible recognition of legitimacy by some leader such as the pope to an emperor or caliph.

Each culture, even each monarchy and dynasty within one culture, may have its own historical traditions, and some even have a specific name for its regalia, or at least for an important subset, such as:

  • The Honours of Scotland
  • The Nigerian Royal Regalia
  • The Three Sacred Treasures of the Emperor of Japan
  • But some elements occur in many traditions.


  • Crowns and variations (diadem, tiara)
  • Cap of Maintenance
  • Other regal dress and jewelry

  • Armills — bracelets
  • (Ermine) coronation mantle
  • Gloves
  • Barmi (Бармы) or barmas, a detachable silk collar with medallions of precious material sewn to it, as used in Moscovy
  • Rings, symbolizing the monarch's "marriage" to the state (in the case of the Doge of the Republic of Venice, to its lifeblood, the sea); or as a signet-ring, a practical attribute of his power to command legally
  • Manipulable symbols of power

  • Orb (globus cruciger)
  • Sceptre, including the French Hand of Justice
  • Sword - for examples, see Sword of Justice; Sword of State; Sword of Mercy (known also as Edward the Confessor's Sword)
  • Spurs
  • Other weapons, such as a dagger (as in Arabian and Indian traditions),a spear, or a royal kris (in Malay traditions)
  • Crook and flail
  • Fly-whisk, which is said to have some of the power of Amaterasu.
  • Seals, such as the Heirloom Seal of the Realm, represented imperial authority under the Mandate of Heaven in China.
  • Other manipulable symbols

    Regalia can also stand for other attributes or virtues, i.e. what is expected from the holder.

    Thus the Imperial Regalia of Japan (Jp: 三種の神器; "Sanshu no Jingi", or "Three Sacred Treasures"), also known as the Three Sacred Treasures of Japan as follows:

  • The sword, Kusanagi (草薙剣) (or possibly a replica of the original; located at Atsuta Shrine in Nagoya) represents valor
  • The jewel or necklace of jewels, Yasakani no magatama (八尺瓊曲玉; at Kokyo in Tokyo), represents benevolence
  • The mirror, Yata no kagami (八咫鏡), located in the Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture, represents wisdom
  • Since 690, the presentation of these items to the emperor by the priests at the shrine are a central part of the imperial enthronement ceremony. As this ceremony is not public, the regalia are by tradition only seen by the emperor and certain priests, and no known photographs or drawings exist.

    Coronation paraphernalia

    Some regalia objects are presented and/or used in the formal ceremonial of enthronement/coronation. They can be associated with an office or court sinecure (cfr. archoffices) that enjoys the privilege to carry, present/or at use it at the august occasion, and sometimes on other formal occasions, such as a royal funeral.

    Such objects, with or without intrinsic symbolism, can include

  • Anointing utensils:
  • Sacred ampulla containing the ointment
  • Spoon for the same ointment
  • Alternatively, the monarchies of Norway and Sweden have an anointment horn
  • A Bible used for swearing in the monarch as the new sovereign.
  • Cage with a bird (wren) or wren hunting in Celtic ceremonies
  • Coronation stone e.g. Stone of Scone or Lia Fáil.
  • Companions' attributes

    Apart from the sovereign himself, attributes (especially a crown) can be used for close relatives who are allowed to share in the pomp. For example, in Norway the queen consort and the crown prince are the only other members of the royal family to possess these attributes and share in the sovereign's royal symbolism.

    Reserved colour

    In the Roman Empire the colour Tyrian purple, produced with an extremely expensive Mediterranean mollusk extract, was in principle reserved for the Imperial Court. The use of this dye was extended to various dignitaries, such as members of the Roman senate who wore stripes of Tyrian purple on their white togas, for whom the term purpuratus was coined as a high aulic distinction.

    In late Imperial China, the colour yellow was reserved for the emperor, as it had a multitude of meanings. Yellow was a symbol of gold, and thus wealth and power, and since it was also the colour that symbolized the center in Chinese cosmology (the five elements, or wu xing(五行)), it was the perfect way to refer to the emperor, who was always in the middle of the universe. Consequently, peasants and noblemen alike were forbidden to wear robes made entirely out of yellow, although they were allowed to use the colour sparingly.

    Additional display

  • Umbrella / canopy
  • Fan(s)
  • Standard(s)
  • Mace(s)
  • Music, such as
  • A fanfare or other specific piece of music
  • Reserved instruments, such as silver trumpets, or in India (especially Mewar) the Nakkara drum
  • The ceremonial Nobat orchestra is a formal requirement for a valid Malaysian coronation.
  • Imperial Regalia

    The Imperial Regalia, insignia, or crown jewels (in German Reichskleinodien, Reichsinsignien, or Reichsschatz) are the regalia of the emperors and kings of the Holy Roman Empire. The most important parts are the Imperial Crown, the Holy Lance and the Imperial Sword. Today they are kept at the Schatzkammer Treasury in the Hofburg palace in Vienna, Austria.

    During the late Middle Ages, the word Imperial Regalia (Reichskleinodien) had many variations in the Latin language. The regalia were named in Latin: insignia imperialia, regalia insignia, insignia imperalis capellae quae regalia dicuntur and other similar words.

    Academic regalia

    Academic dress is a traditional form of clothing for academic settings, primarily tertiary (and sometimes secondary) education, worn mainly by those who have been admitted to a university degree (or similar), or hold a status that entitles them to assume them (e.g., undergraduate students at certain old universities). It is also known as academicals and, in the United States, as academic regalia.

    Other uses

    By analogy, regalia is also applied to formal insignia in other contexts, such as the traditional dress worn by Aboriginal peoples in Canada for ceremonial purposes, such as Pow Wow dancing.


    Regalia Wikipedia

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