The Coronet of Margaret of York

Who was Margaret of York?

This glorious object is the Coronet of Margaret of York, a fifteenth-century crown or coronet of a member of the medieval English royal family member the Plantagents – Margaret of York, was the sister of Edward IV and Richard III. In 1468, she married Charles the Bold Duke of Burgundy, and the crown was made then and probably worn by her at her wedding. It was made in London or the Low Countries and is of exquisite quality. Made of silver gilt and enamel & decorated with pearls, it is encrusted with rubies and sapphires, set in enamel Yorkist white roses. It also bears decoration that refers to Margaret and her husband’s marriage, an enamel inscription bearing her name, their joint coat of arms and their initials joined by a lover’s knot. In 1474, Margaret, a devoted Catholic, gave the coronet to adorn a statue of the Virgin and Child at Aachen in Germany, where it remains to this day in the cathedral treasury.

An Object that Reflected Margaret of York's Status

The coronet of Margaret of York was an ornament that reflected her status as a member of the English royal house and as you might expect expresses something of her origin.   It is a tiny object, 13cm high and with a diameter of 12.5cm.  It isn’t made of gold but is of silver gilt, as many objects of this sort were in the Middle Ages.  The coronet circlet is decorated with two strings of irregularly shaped freshwater pearls and onto it are set six sapphires in enamel settings in the form of Yorkist white roses.  On the front of the coronet is a cross set with stones on a large enamel white rose The circlet is topped with eight strawberry leaves on tall stems, and between them are little fleurons.  The strawberry leaves are set with a range of precious stones, including sapphires and balas rubies and on the front strawberry leaf is a large ruby in a white rose setting.   On the back of the coronet, occupying a similar position, is a square-cut sapphire. The little fleuron’s have enamel roses on them.      


An Object Personalised for Margaret of York

The object provides incontrovertible evidence that this item is associated with Margaret of York.  Between the stone settings of the circlet is the inscription ‘Margarita de York’ in white, red and green enamel.  Above the top row of pearls are the initials C and M for Charles and Margaret, joined with a true lovers’ knot.  On the back of the circlet is Margaret’s shield of arms with the heraldic achievement of England, impaling that of Burgundy.  

Learn More About Margaret of York's Coronet in my YouTube Video

More About Margaret of York

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