Saturday, January 9, 2021

Cap of Maintenance

Cap of Maintenance  

A cap of maintenance, known in heraldic language as a chapeau gules turned up ermine, is a ceremonial cap of crimson velvet lined with ermine, which is worn or carried by certain persons as a sign of nobility or special honour. It is worn with the high part to the fore, the tapering tail behind. It may substitute for the torse in the heraldic achievement of a person of special honour granted the privilege by the monarch. It thus appears in such cases on top of the helm and below the crest. It does not, however, feature in the present royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, which shows the royal crest upon the royal crown, itself upon the royal helmet.

The origin of this symbol of dignity is obscure. One might speculate that the origin relates to the Old French verb maintenir – "to hold" or "to keep". A purpose of the cap was to keep a crown or coronet secure (and comfortable) on the head, thus its function was simply to "maintain" the coronet in place. The granting of the cap as an honour might refer specifically to the red velvet and/or ermine trim, distinct from a simpler design of cap.




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