Cap of maintenance

Typical of British heraldry, 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,[1] 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 (a twisted roll of fabric) 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.[2]

A heraldic cap of maintenance. It is worn with the tail facing backwards and is depicted in heraldry with the tail facing to the sinister (viewer's right).
Position of cap of maintenance within a heraldic achievement, namely on top of the helm and below the crest. It thus takes the place of the torse. Garter stall plate of Arthur Plantagenet, 1st Viscount Lisle.
Shield, helm and crest of Edward, the Black Prince, from his tomb in Canterbury Cathedral. Between the lion crest and the helm is a cap of maintenance, now almost entirely decayed.

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