Diu krône ist elter danne der künec Philippes sî

Diu krône ist elter danne der künec Philippes sî

The crown is older than my liege king Philip is,
Yet see how wonderfully now this crown is his!
The goldsmith's craft out-sparkles every other!
It suits so well the virtues of his kingly heart
That none could ever justly tear the two apart;
For each proclaims the honour of its brother.
The noble stone uniquely can
Enhance and be enhanced by such a fine young man;
The sight delights the princes near and far.
You wonder if a king is crowned?
Now see upon whose head the orphan stone is found.
That stone is every prince's guiding star! (Walter von der Vogelweide, "Philippston")

Today, 808 years ago on 6 January 1205, Philipp von Schwaben, son of Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, was crowned king in Aachen for the second time.

During the game of thrones the houses Hohenstaufen and Welf played at the turn of the 13th century after Barbarossa's death, Philipp already took, as his court poet Walter von der Vogelweide put it, the "orphan", named after the big solitaire set in the crown, in September 1198.

The coronation happenend in Mainz though and was performed by a bishop who wasn't authorised to anoint a king at all - Philipp's adversary Otto von Braunschweig the anti-king had been crowned in Aachen by the right coronator but with the wrong Imperial Regalia - minor breaches in protocol, but powerful tools in the respective propaganda of the two houses and their followers.

Eight years of military conflict followed followed with Philipp prevailing until he was crowned again and Otto temporarily accepting defeat, and agreeing to marry the Staufer's daughter Beatrix - the engagement being broken off, when Philipp was murdered in 1208 and the conflict rekindled again.

More on:

And for the language geeks - Walter von der Vogelweide's "Philippston" in Middle High German:

Diu krône ist elter danne der künec Philippes sî

Diu krône ist elter danne der künec Philippes sî:
dâ mugent ir alle schouwen wol ein wunder bî,
wie si ime der smit sô ebene habe gemachet.
sîn keiserlîchez houbet zimt ir alsô wol,
daz si ze rehte nieman guoter scheiden sol:
ir dewederz daz ander niht enswachet.
si liuhtent beide ein ander an,
daz edel gesteine wider den jungen süezen man:
die ougenweide sehent die fürsten gerne.
swer nû des rîches irre gê,
der schouwe wem der weise ob sîme nacke stê:
der stein ist aller fürsten leitesterne.