Do Current Monarchs Actually Sit on Their Thrones, etc.?

I know Queen Elizabeth does take the throne or at least I think she does, when she appears in Parliament or something, but what about the rulers of Belgium, Holland, the Scandinavian countries, Spain and anywhere else? Do they take the throne for their coronation, for instance, or even that?
Do they wear the crown and robes? I think the earlier kings and queens actually had on their outfits around the palace, like Louis XIV, but I don’t remember him wearing his crown, just the huge wig and the layers of ermine and his staff.

In Spain, IIRC, the king does not use a throne (I don’t even think there is a throne) or crown or other royal stuff. During the coronation of King Juan Carlos in the parliament building, not the palace, I believe there was some symbols (crown & sceptre?) placed on a cushion on a table nearby, or something like that just to give the occassion some solemnity but there is nothing like they do in the UK. The (reinstalled, new and improved) Spanish monarchy has pretty much left all those things behind in history.

The room of the throne in the royal palace doesn’t even have a real throne, just a plain looking kind of chair, and the king does not sit in it anyway. Most receptions are not in the royal palace but in the royal residence outside Madrid and the protocol is that they line eveyrone up in a room, the king walks in, says hello, pictures are taken, the king walks out and it’s all over.

For Norway:

The King does deliver what is called a “throne speech”, so I guess you might conclude that the chair he sits in while waiting to deliver this speech would be the throne. But it’s just an ornate chair, really, that’s brought into Parliament when the King’s going to be there. As with Queen Elizabeth on the other side of the water, King Harald isn’t really delivering an original speech - he’s reading the program proposed by the government for the new Parliamentary session.

Ol’ Baldy never had a coronation. When his father died and he ascended to the throne, plans were laid almost immediately for a benediction service in the Cathedral in Trondheim, which has long traditions as being Norway’s national cathedral. A bishop prayed for a blessing on the King and Queen, and the crown I believe was present, but it was never placed on the King’s head.

No robes, scepters, secret decoder rings, etc. If Harald is performing some ceremonial royal duty, he will wear a specific outfit, which looks something like a military dress uniform, often with a heavy decorative chain around his neck that is, I’m sure, fraught with symbolism. For formal but non-ceremonial occassions, he’ll wear a tuxedo or dark suit as protocol would demand for any man. For informal occasions he wears whatever the hell he pleases; he’s been known to show up to watch sporting events wearing jeans and a wool sweater, and if you didn’t recognize his face you might wonder how come that guy rates the fancy box seats. :smiley:

Here’s a description with pictures of the Dutch most ceremonial annual event, the opening of parliament, or Prionsjesdag as we call it. Our Queen Beatrix indeed sits on a throne, and her husband (now late-husband) on a smaller throne. But that is the only time of the year she is in that room and on that throne. Noteworthy is the Golden Carriage, a fairytale-like vehicle that she rides only on Prinsjesdag.

Our Queen never wears a crown or sceptre. She has developed and maintained a remarkable personal style though. That style is carefully designed and maintained, not to let her look beautiful, feminine or elegant, (even though she is a fine-looking woman) but to let her look distinguishedly royal.

In any company, she is immediately recognizable by her stiff laquered helmet of hair, her monumentlike dresses, her stiff, rather large hats, (almost no-one in Holland wears hats but the Queen!) and she often holds a stiff little Biedermaier bouquet of flowers.

The last and only time she wore a crown and an ermine cape was with her coronation in 1980. Those jewels are now somewhere kept safe, not on public view like in Britain.
When ever there is a grand Gala, the Queen wears tiaras and jewellery from her own personal collection, which contains many historical and very expensive pieces. The tiaras have the additional benefit of going well with her normal helmet-like hairdo.

Oops, I pressed Enter too soon.

Anyway, here is the link to the pictures of
Prinsjesdag with Queen, hats, thrones, Golden Carriage and all.

Elizabeth II usually only wears the Crown during the opening of Parliament, I think.

oh, c’mon, now…I imagine Queen Elizabeth and all other monarchs sit on the throne at least once a day…

SOMEBODY had to say it!

NOTHING else? :wink:

Juggler, that was not a mental image I needed, thankyouverymuch.

The Danish monarchs did away with the coronation ceremony in 1849 - when a new monarch ascends the throne, the Prime Minister announces it three times from the Parliament balcony, and that’s that as regards ceremony. The only time the modern monarchs get to use the crown for anything is when it’s placed on their casket.

From 1661-1849, the king was supposedly elected by God, and the coronation ceremeony was modified to be an anointment ceremony instead - after being anointed, the monarch would put the crown on his head himself.

Before 1661, the monarch was elected by clerics & nobility, and the crown would be placed on his (or, in one case, her…) head by the present noblemen.

No specific dress-up. At gala occasions, the Queen will wear an evening gown and the accoutrements of the two knight orders she’s the head of - the Order of the Elephant and the Order of Dannebrog (Dannebrog being the name of the flag.). For less dressy occasions, she’ll wear less flamboaynt dresses, or very business-like outfits. And sometimes hats…

The princes generally speaking either wear suits or the gala uniforms of their respective regiments.

Daisy & Henri in full regalia, here: -that’s as royal as it gets.

For informal events, the Royals more or less wear whatever they bloody well like - this isn’t a monarchy that’s big on ceremony as regards their persons.

There are a number of different issues here. Let’s try to break them down into some sort of sensible order.

Coronations. The British monarchy is the only one in Europe which still has a proper coronation, complete with anointing and crowning. In fact, one must not make the mistake of assuming that coronations were ever the norm and one should certainly not assume that a ceremony on the scale of a modern English coronation was standard. Actual practices varied in every case, both geographically and over time, so any generalisations are likely to be misleading, but it was usually the case (but there were exceptions) that France and England went in for far grander ceremonies than anyone else. Some other monarchies did have simpler crowning ceremonies, but others had no comparable ceremony at all. The obvious example of a monarchy which never had coronations was Spain, so one could argue that its current practice is actually very traditional. Since the late nineteenth century those monarchies which did have crowning ceremonies have abandoned them. Some, such as the Netherlands (which is the example others have followed), do have an inauguration ceremony instead, usually centred around the swearing of an oath. (Incidentally, Maastricht, Queen Beatrix did not wear the Dutch crown at her inauguration ceremony, although it was displayed in front of her.) As only the English coronation has been continued unchanged (at least until now), it naturally remains the great exception.

Crowns. Most European monarchies have sets of regalia but most never use them. This is because they were rarely ever worn except for coronations and, depending on the particular country, for the opening of the representative assembly. They were never intended for everyday use. Again, the British monarchy is the only one which preserves the older tradition. Elsewhere the argument has usually been that the monarch cannot wear the crown if they’ve not had a coronation. Indeed, from about the sixteenth century onwards, those monarchies which did not have coronations usually had sets of regalia made even if they were never used - people had just come to assume that a crown was something a proper king had to have. Some countries, as Spiny Norman noted, do still place the crown on the coffin at the monarch’s funeral.

Robes. This is an even more complicated subject as there were different robes for different sorts of occasions. Monarchies with coronations usually had special sets of coronation robes and, of course, only in Britain are those still used. Elizabeth II also has a robe of state which is what she wears to open Parliament. The only other time she tends to wear it is when she is having her portrait painted. Few other European monarchs now use robes of that type, although, as Maastricht noted, Queen Beatrix wore something similar for her inauguration. Most have chivalric orders which allow them to wear fancy robes. The general trend has been towards more ‘conventional’ formal outfits, although military uniforms for men remains the old stand-by. As for Louis XIV, he, like Elizabeth II, was often painted in ceremonial robes which he rarely wore in real life - his everyday clothes were just standard court dress, albeit very expensively produced court dress.

Finally, thrones. It rather depends what you mean by a ‘throne’. In Britain, the only royal ‘thrones’ are the one used at the coronation (which, confusingly, is not the same as the Coronation Chair) and the throne in the House of Lords. Others chairs which might look as if they are thrones are technically chairs of state (and just to confuse things even further, some of the chairs of state are housed in rooms called ‘the Throne Room’). And the Queen rarely actually sits on them as the type of court ceremonies which needed them no longer exist. Those rooms are now used mainly for the type of receptions where everyone stands. Most other European kings and queens have similar ceremonial chairs in their palaces, but, again, they’re mainly for show.

>> The obvious example of a monarchy which never had coronations was Spain, so one could argue that its current practice is actually very traditional.

Well, depends what you call “coronation”. If you are thinking of a ceremony where the crown was put on the king’s or queen’s head, then I might agree and that is the focus of the OP. But I would think every country had some kind of coronation ceremony and Spain is no exception.

Most kings were proclaimed (better word than crowned) in some sort of ceremony in the parliament or whatever was the equivalent popular representaitive body. Up until about 1700 Spain was really a confederation of different kingdoms with their own laws which happened to have a common king so the king had to be recognised by the parliament (cortes) of each kingdom. In Castille the king had much more power than in Aragon and the proclamation by the Cortes was a mere formality. But in Aragon the powers of the king were much more limited and the Cortes did keep the king on a tight leash. The king was considered by the nobles merely as “primus inter pares” (first among equals) and they reminded him of that on the proclamation ceremony which was really a compact. The nobles recited a formula along the lines: “We, who are worth as much as you, and united more than you, do swear allegiance to you so long as you respect and abide by our laws, uses and customs, etc”. The kings hated governing Aragon because they continually had to beg the Cortes for money. In castille OTOH they had much more power and the Cortes there were much more subservient to the king.

In Germany OTOH the King was elected. That is why when Charles of Hapsburg was proclaimed king of Spain, he set to raise as much cash as he could from Castile in order to bribe the German electors and be elected emperor, which he was. But it cost a civil war in Castille when the Castillians revolted against the king.

But I am not aware that there was a coronation where the crown was put over the head of the monarch. In fact, I do not recall ever seeing depictions of Spanish monarchs wering any kind of crown except depeictions of those from the middle ages (which are mainly artistic rather than factual) and may be the queen Isabell II (late 19th century) would wear a tiara for solemn ocassions but I would not consider it the “royal crown”.

BTW, I will remember here Napoleon who wanted to be crowned by the Pope and when finally the Pope was about to do it, Napoleon stepped in front of him, took the crown and put it on his own head. I guess it was a way of putting himself even over the Pope.

The Queen has a lot of crowns for different puropses. The same with robes and other insignia.

Sometimes they retire crowns. The crown of George III was auctioned off some time ago.

The Papal States (754-1929 C.E.) were an elective monarchy ruled by the pope. Ceremonial coronations, complete with crowns, thrones, jewelry, robes, and other regalia, were not unheard of, if not the norm. The practice has continued with the Vatican City, which in many ways is the modern-day continuation of the Papal States and is recognized by most countries as an independent state. The popes in the two most recent coronations have opted for a more toned-down ceremony. For example, John Paul II declined to use the traditional sedan chair and papal tiara, though he did sit on what has been described as a “portable throne” after his inaugural mass. However, I am aware of no decree formally abolishing the more elaborate ceremonies of the past. When old father Karol finally croaks, there’s theoretically nothing stopping his successor from throwing a sinfully excessive coronation bash, complete with dancing cardinals and cheerleader nuns.

A lot of countries didn’t do coronations, Roumania and Yugoslavia, for example. (Well, when they HAD monarchies!)

To Guinastasia, I’ve read several biographies of Queen Marie of Romania, daughter of the Duke of Edinburgh and granddaughter of Queen Victoria (whose third or whatever son had that automatic title of that son, Duke of Edinburgh, not the Duke of Edinburgh of more recent history, who was somabody else). And I think I remember that she did have a coronation, yes I’m pretty sure, because I can conjure up a picture in my mind of her with a crown on. She and her husband, who was some German nonentity, did have a coronation, I think…
As Dorothy Parker once said, “Love is a continuous cycle of song, a medley of extemporania; and love is a thing that can never go
wrong, and I am Marie of Romania.” Marie was a wonderful queen and also the granddaughter of one of the czars. She travelled all
over the place and when she came to America was much in the news,
prompting the Parker poem.