Today in Catholic History – Pius IX receives the Belgian Tiara

On 18 June 1871, the Ladies of the Royal Court of the King of the Belgians gave one of the most unique of Papal tiaras to Pius IX. The tiara was given in honor of the 25th anniversary of his pontificate. There is also some speculation that the tiara was given in response to the recent loss of Rome to the Kingdom of Italy.

The tiara, designed by Jean-Baptiste Bethune of Ghent is unusual not only in its conical shape but also because it contains the words CHRISTI VICARIO — IN TERRA — REGUM spread over its three crowns. It is made of gold, pearls, gilt silver, emeralds, enamel, agates and rubies. It is not known if the tiara was ever worn and no papal tiara has been worn since June 1963 when Pope Paul VI ceased to wear one.

Image of the Belgian Tiara

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