March 19th……

On this day, Pope Pius VII was crowned at Venice in a papier- mâché tiara, a replacement for the one stolen by Napoleon during his overthrow of Pius’s predecessor in 1798. Constructed from bits of paper and held together with glue, the new tiara was supposed to be temporary, but its light weight offered such a relief from the bejeweled monstrosity typically worn by His Holiness that it remained in the papal wardrobe for 45 years, passing from pope to pope like a family hand-me-down. Napoleon eventually did donate a replacement crown to the papacy in 1804—but he deliberately made it too heavy (18.1 lbs.) to be worn comfortably.

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