Heritage

The Meaning Behind Meghan Markle's New Coat of Arms

The Duchess of Sussex's crest pays tribute to her Californian heritage.
IMAGE KENSINGTON PALACE / GETTY
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After weeks of speculation over whether Meghan Markle's father, Thomas Markle Sr. would receive a family coat of arms as Michael Middleton did in the lead up to Prince William and Kate Middleton's wedding in 2011, Kensington Palace has shared the news that Meghan Markle has received her own heraldic design.

They revealed the coat of arms this morning, via Twitter:


Duchess Meghan worked with the College of Arms on the coat of arms, which features visual references to not only California, but also to her home with Prince Harry in Nottingham Cottage at Kensington Palace.

"The blue background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast, while the two golden rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine of The Duchess's home state. The three quills represent communication and the power of words," reads a statement from Kensington Palace.

"Beneath the shield on the grass sits a collection of golden poppies, California's state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace."

Clearly, the poppy and wintersweet are two symbols that the Duchess finds meaningful. They were also among the images embroidered on her wedding veil.

The design also includes a coronet, which features two crosses patée (a type of Christian cross), four fleurs-de-lys, and two strawberry leaves. Also seen on the coat of arms is a songbird "with wings elevated as if flying and an open beak, which with the quill represents the power of communication," according to Kensington Palace.

The coat of arms was approved by not only the Queen, but also Thomas Woodcock, the Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England, who is based at the College of Arms in London. (Basically, he's the guy you go see if you need a coat of arms.)

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"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," Woodcock said in a statement from Kensington Palace.

"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."

Meghan's design will be presented alongside Prince Harry's. "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," shared Kensington Palace.

It's likely that Meghan and Harry will also receive a "conjugal coat of arms," to represent the couple's combined house at some point. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge received their conjugal coat of arms (below) two years after their wedding.


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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's conjugal coat of arms.

*This story originally appeared on Townandcountrymag.com

*Minor edits have been made by the Townandcountry.ph editors

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Caroline Hallemann
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