is the Papal Tiara crown of the papacy. For over one millennium all popes were crowned with a tiara in a Papal Coronation. The tiara is one of the key symbols of the papacy, and features on the Vatican coat of arms. Pope Benedict XVI has replaced the tiara on his official coat of arms with a traditional bishop's mitre and the pallium, symbols of the Pontiff's authority as Bishop of Rome.
Though people talk of
the tiara, there are in fact over twenty surviving tiaras in existence. The earliest dates from the sixteenth century, the latest from 1981. Eleven of them are held in the Vatican and two are permanently on display in the United States at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. and at the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Indiana at the University of Notre Dame.
The most recent papal tiara was donated to
Pope John Paul II by Hungary in 1981.
List of some of the papal tiaras still in existence
Tiara of Pope Gregory XIII (1572-1585)—The oldest surviving papal tiara in existence.
Papier-mâché Tiara of Pope Pius VII (Made for his exiled coronation in Venice in 1800.)
Tiara of Pope Pius VII (1804) "Napoleon Tiara" from Napoleon, marking his wedding to Josephine; by Henry August and Marie-Etienne Nitot, House of Chaumet, Paris. Some of the jewels and decoration for this tiara came from earlier tiaras smashed and stolen by the troops of the French Directory in 1798. The tiara was made deliberately too small, and at 18 pounds (8 kg) too heavy, for the pope to wear.)
Tiara of Pope Pius VII (1820) (image)
Tiara of Pope Gregory XVI (1834) one of the most worn in the papal collection
Tiara of Pope Gregory XVI (1845).
Tiara of Pope Gregory XVI (date unknown). Lightweight version of a tiara.
Tiara of Pope Pius IX (1846) coronation tiara.
Tiara of Pope Pius IX (1855) "Spanish Tiara" from Queen Isabella II of Spain (image)
Tiara of Pope Pius IX (late 1850s) from the Congregation of Holy Cross on permanent display in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart at the University of Notre Dame.
Tiara of Pope Pius IX (1871) "Belgian Tiara" from the women of the Royal Court of the King of the Belgians by Jean Baptiste Bethume of Ghent. (image opposite.)
Tiara of Pope Pius IX (1870s) lightweight tiara.
Tiara of Pope Pius IX (1877) "Palatine Tiara" from the Holy See's Palatine Guard in honour of Pope Pius's jubilee. It was used at virtually every papal coronation since then.
Tiara of Pope Leo XIII (1887) "German Tiara" from Kaiser Wilhelm I of Germany in commemoration of the Pope's Golden Jubilee as a priest.
Tiara of Pope Leo XIII (1888) "Paris Tiara" (image) from the Catholics of Paris to celebrate the Pope's Golden Jubilee. By François Désiré Froment-Meurice.
Tiara of Pope Leo XIII (1894) "Austrian Tiara" from Kaiser Franz Joseph of Austria.
Tiara of Pope Leo XIII (1903) "Golden tiara" given by the Vicar-General of Rome on behalf of the world's Catholics to commemorate the Pope's Silver Jubilee as pope. (image)
Tiara of Pope Pius X (1908) by papal jewellers Tatani to commemorate the Pope's golden jubilee of his ordination as a priest. Made because the pope found other tiaras too heavy.
Tiara of Pope Pius XI (1922)
Tiara of Pope Pius XI (1922) from the Archdiocese of Milan.
Tiara of Pope John XXIII (1959) (image) from the people of Bergamo, his home region in honour of his election as pope.
Tiara of Pope Paul VI (1963) (image) made by the artisans of his former archdiocese, Milan. On permanent display in the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.
Tiara of Pope John Paul II (Hungarian Tiara) (1981) ( image) presented to Pope John Paul II by Catholics in the then Communist state of Hungary. As neither John Paul II nor his successor, Pope Benedict XVI have worn any papal tiara, this tiara remains unworn.
Note: Because the donation of tiaras was often a private matter not announced by the person making the donation, it is unknown whether any subsequent papal tiaras have been donated. The existence of the Hungarian Tiara, though long rumoured, was only confirmed when images of it were shown in the media.
Though Pope Paul VI decided not to wear his tiara again in a gesture of humility and gave it to the Church in the United States, his 1975
Apostolic Constitution, required that his successor be crowned. However Romano Pontifici Eligendo Pope John Paul I decided not to follow the requirement and instead underwent a Papal Inauguration. Pope John Paul II's 1996 Apostolic Constitution left it up to each future pope to decide whether to be crowned or inaugurated.
Universi Dominici Gregis