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Meaning of Gold Crown with letters "IRS" wall art?

Greetings - I took a photo in 2007 of a gold crown with the letters IRS painted on a wall near your museum. I thought I would be able to research the meaning upon returning to the USA and have sadly had no luck. The letter and photo is meaningful to me for other reasons but I would truly love to know what the intended graphic represents to Sweden/Stockholm or the Vasa Museum. I would be so very appreciative if anyone could offer any insights.  Thanks so much !!!
Tricia S.


  • photo of image in question -

    Tricia S.
  • Hi  Tricia,

    The wall art is part of a display showing the family tree of the Vasa dynasty of Swedish kings, and how the king who built Vasa, Gustav II Adolf, was related to his opponent in the war of the 1620s, Zygmunt III of Poland-Lithuania. Each king in the tree is shown by the royal monogram he used. Gustav Adolf was GARS (Gustavus Adolphus Rex Suecia, Gustav Adolf King of Sweden), his opponent had been SRS (Sigismund Rex Suecia). Your photo shows the mongram of Zygmunt/Sigismund's father, Johan III, who is IRS (Iohannes Rex Suecia, for John King of Sweden). The crown indicates that he ruled as king.

    Hope this helps with the memories of your visit!
    Fred Research Director, Ship Unit, Ph.D.
  • Yay yay yay !!!!! This has been driving me crazy for years and given your amazing response, I am more than delighted that I reached out to your organization (as it is now obvious there was NO WAY I was going to figure that out myself !!).  I can not begin to thank you for sharing this info. I have had many friends ask me about this picture and now I am so pleased to share this background. I hope to return to visit Stockholm and will absolutely be checking back in on the Vasa when I do.  Best to you and thanks again !
    Tricia S.

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