26 May 2018

Meghan Markle coat of arms revealed

8:14 am on 26 May 2018

A coat of arms created for the Duchess of Sussex that reflects her Californian background has been unveiled.

The coat of arms created for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

The coat of arms created for the Duke and Duchess of Sussex. Photo: Kensington Palace

It includes a shield containing the colour blue, representing the Pacific Ocean, and rays, symbolising sunshine.

The duchess worked closely with the College of Arms in London to create the design, Kensington Palace said.

The lion supporting the shield relates to her husband, the Duke of Sussex, and dates back to the House of Stuart's ascent to the throne in 1603.

The songbird supporting the shield on the right relates to the Duchess of Sussex.

Traditionally wives of members of the Royal Family have two - one of their husband's supporters on the shield and one relating to themselves.

Beneath the shield is California's state flower - the golden poppy - and Wintersweet, a flower that grows at Kensington Palace and was also depicted on the duchess' wedding veil.

Britain's Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex (R) and US actress Meghan Markle (L) stand at the altar together before Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby (C) in St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle, in Windsor, on May 19, 2018 during their wedding ceremony. / AFP PHOTO / POOL / Owen Humphreys

Photo: AFP

The three quills illustrate the power of words and communication.

The duchess has also been assigned a coronet bearing fleurs-de-lys and strawberry leaves.

Garter King of Arms Thomas Woodcock, who is based at the College of Arms said: "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."

Royal wedding

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex, and his wife Meghan, Duchess of Sussex, with (L-R back row) Master Brian Mulroney, Miss Remi Litt, Miss Rylan Litt, Master Jasper Dyer, Prince George, Miss Ivy Mulroney, Master John Mulroney and (L-R front row) Miss Zalie Warren, Princess Charlotte and Miss Florence van Cutsem. Photo: Alexi Lubomirski / Duke and Duchess of Sussex

In 2011 a coat of arms was designed for the family of the Duchess of Cambridge - then Kate Middleton - which featured white chevronels symbolising mountains representing the family's love of the Lake District and skiing.

As the grant was made to the Middleton family, the Duchess of Cambridge's siblings are also allowed to use the coat of arms.

The conjugal coat of arms for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

The conjugal coat of arms for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. Photo: Kensington Palace

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's coat of arms combined the shields of Prince William and the Middleton family.

Samantha Grant, a half sister of the duchess, told the Telegraph it was "a huge insult" that their father Thomas Markle had not been given a coat of arms.

As an American, Mr Markle could apply for honorary arms - in addition to meeting the standard criteria of eligibility, however, he would also have to demonstrate his descent from a subject of the British Crown.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex in the Ascot Landau carriage during the procession on The Long Walk after getting married St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle.

Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex and Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex in the Ascot Landau carriage during the procession on The Long Walk after getting married St George's Chapel, Windsor Castle. Photo: AFP

This could include ancestors dating back to before 1783, when Britain recognised American independence.

For any British person to have a legal right to a coat of arms it must have been granted to them or they must be descended in the male line from a person to whom arms were awarded. Organisations can also be granted a coat of arms.

Coats of arms date back to 12th Century and were traditionally worn over armour in tournaments so participants could identify their opponents.

- BBC

Get the new RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs