Celestine III crowning the Holy Roman Emperor

Apr 2014
Liverpool, England
Leafing through Ranulph Higden's 'Polychronicon', as one does, I came across an entertaining account of the coronation of Henry V by Celestine III (1191-1198).

The pope sat in a noble chair, holding the crown between his feet. The emperor bowed down so that Celestine could let the crown down on his head. Celestine then kicked the crown off again to show what would happen if Henry got out of line. The crown was then picked up and replaced on the emperor by some cardinals.

This sounds worth going a long way to see, but is there any truth in it?


Ad Honorem
Jun 2012
The account occurs in Roger of Hovedon's Gesta Henrici II et Gesta Regis Ricardi, which was completed in 1192. Hoveden is thought to have heard the account from someone present at the coronation, and he also includes it in his later Chronicle (ended 1201).

This is a 16th Century illustration of the event.
Pope Celestine.jpg