Thursday, September 2, 2021

And Now: Armorial Plaques of Members of the Order of the Elephant

Today is our first post in a new month, and we're going to celebrate by continuing our trip around the upper level of the chapel in Frederiksborg Castle, and start reviewing some of the armorial plaques of members of the Order of the Elephant.

To begin, here's a view across the chapel from the Order of the Dannebrog aisle to the Order of the Elephant aisle.

If you look carefully, you may recognize some of the arms there. We'll be seeing more of them more closely in a little while.

But for now, a note:

I am not blazoning many of the multi-quartered coats of arms in the first several posts of these armorial plaques. If you wish to see painted versions of these arms, particularly of some of the older ones, I recommend that you consult the Arms Books of the Order of the Elephant, which have been digitized and can be found on-line at

And the usual note that you can click on any of these images to see a larger, more detailed photograph of these plaques.

The arms in each of these plaques are surrounded by the light blue sash of the Order, itself charged with the collar of the Order done in relief.

On the left, we have: Alexander Nicolaievich, Grand Duke of Russia (1818-1881; created a member of the Order in 1834). He later became Tsar Alexander II of Russia, 1855-1881). The shield is the arms of Russia (which are also the arms of Moscow) on the breast of a double-headed eagle.

To the right, we find the arms of Joseph Francis Oscar Bernadotte, Hereditary (Crown) Prince of Sweden and Norway (created a member of the Order in 1835). He later became King Oscar I of Sweden and Norway 1844-1859. The arms are Quarterly per saltire and have the inescutcheon of the impaled arms of Vasa and Bernadotte.

This plaque is that of Bernhard [II] Erik Freund, Duke of Sachsen-Meiningen (d. 1882; created a member of the Order in 1838). The shield is one of those lovely German multiply-quartered shields that says, “This is everything, and I do mean everything, I own.”

Here on the left we have: Georg Friedrich Charles Joseph, Grand Duke of Mecklenburg-Strelitz (1779-1860; reigned 1816-1860) (created a member of the Order in 1838). One of his daughters, Caroline Mariane (1821-1876) in 1841 became the second wife of the future King Christian VIII of Denmark. Here again, we find a multiply quartered field of the territories rules by the Grand Duke.

And on the right: Friedrich Wilhelm, Hereditary (Crown) Prince of Borussorum (Prussia) (created a member of the Order in 1840). He later became  Friedrich Wilhelm IV, King of Prussia 1840-1861. Again, “Look at all the stuff I own!”, including four (count ‘em, four!) inescutcheons.

And for our final entry today, we have Adolf Wilhelm Charles August Karl Friedrich, Duke of Nassau-Weilburg-Usingen (1817-1905; created a member of the Order in 1840). His arms consist of sixteen quarters and an inescutcheon!

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