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Friday, May 25, 2018

HERALDRY | Arms, Duchess of Sussex

May 25, 2018–The Duchess of  Sussex now has a coat of arms, created for her following her marriage to Prince Harry last week. 
The design was approved by The Queen and Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England.

Meaning The blue (azure) background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean by the California coast. The two golden (or) rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine of The Duchess’s home state and the three quills represent communication and the power of words. Beneath the shield on the grass are golden poppies, California’s state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace. Members of the Royal Family and their wives have have one of their spouse's  Supporters and one relating to themselves. The Supporter relating to The Duchess of Sussex is a songbird with wings elevated as if flying and an open beak, which with the quill represents the power of communication. The Coronet is laid down by a Royal Warrant of 1917 for the sons and daughters of the Heir Apparent. It is composed of two crosses patée, four fleurs-de-lys and two strawberry leaves. The arms of a married woman are shown with those of her husband and the technical term is that they are impaled, meaning placed side by side in the same shield.

Unusual Feature The decision to give Meghan Markle her own coat of arms breaks royal tradition as it is typically given to the father of the bride, but Thomas Markle was unable to give away his daughter at the May 19 wedding because of heart surgery. It also does not reference the Markle family name. (Her sister-in-law Duchess Kate's coat of arms referenced both the Middleton name and Kate's mother Carole's maiden name Goldsmith.

The Garter King of Arms said in summary: 
“The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design. Good heraldic design is nearly always simple and the Arms of The Duchess of Sussex stand well beside the historic beauty of the quartered British Royal Arms. Heraldry as a means of identification has flourished in Europe for almost nine hundred years and is associated with both individual people and great corporate bodies such as Cities, Universities and for instance the Livery Companies in the City of London.”