June 10 has been designated as International Heraldry Day. If you are armigerous this is a good day to display your coat of arms.
…until International Heraldry Day! (June 10)
The Canadian Heraldic Authority is undergoing an important transition today. With great pleasure they have announced the appointment of Samy Khalid as the third Chief Herald of Canada. He takes up the torch from Claire Boudreau, who has held the position since 2007 and has now been appointed Margaree-Chéticamp Herald Emeritus by the Governor General.
In light of the recent announcement that the Duke and Duchess of Sussex (aka Prince Harry & Meghan) will be stepping back from duties as senior royals and, consequently no longer styling themselves as “royal highness” not a few people have contacted me to ask out of curiosity if this in any way will have an impact on the coats of arms they both use.
The simple answer is, “No”.
As the grandson of the sovereign Prince Harry employs a coat of arms that indicates he was born a grandson of the sovereign. British royal heraldry is different than many other countries in that the sovereigns children and grandchildren generally bear the royal arms differenced by a variety of labels of either three or five points and the points are charged with marks of difference. That’s really rather boring if you asked me but that’s what they do and they haven’t asked me!
So, when he turned 18 Harry was granted his own arms depicting the royal arms difference by a label of five points the first, third and fifth of which are charged with a red escallop shell. The shell is a charge borrowed from the coat of arms of his late mother, Diana (neé Spencer).
His supporters were also charged with the label for difference and the arms are surmounted by a special coronet used by the children of the heir to the throne. In addition, the royal crest is also charged with the label for difference.
Upon marrying his wife Harry was created Duke of Sussex. Nothing in his coat of arms was modified to reflect this title. Consequently, there is nothing to change in his coat of arms to reflect his new status of stepping down from a senior position in the royal family. He is still a grandson of the sovereign and son of the heir to the throne; he is still the Duke of Sussex; he is still actually an “HRH” but will choose not to style himself as such.
In fact, even after his grandmother passes away and he is the son of the sovereign and, indeed, even after his father passes away and he is the brother of the sovereign the crown used on his arms will remain unchanged as the crown for the child of the heir is identical to the crown used by children of the sovereign and siblings of the sovereign.
Two hundred and forty three years ago a group of men in Philadelphia declared some “self-evident” truths. And we are still here. God Bless America!
On July 1, 1969 Prince Charles was formally invested as Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester. He had been given these titles in 1958 and had, from the time of his mother’s accession to the throne been the Duke of Cornwall, the title traditionally held by the heir apparent to the British throne. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the event.
In 2017 Prince Charles surpassed the record set by his illustrious ancestor, King Edward VII, by becoming the longest-serving Prince of Wales in history.
His arms (above) appear very much like those of his mother except that his are differenced by a white label (repeated on both supporters and the badge for Wales as well); in place of the compartment there is a device intertwining his motto and his badges as well as a small shield with the arms of Cornwall; there is an inescutcheon for Wales; and the crowns on the helm, the two small shields and the lion supporter all have a single arch as befits a Princely crown rather than a royal one which has two arches.
God Bless the Prince of Wales!
While it is not entirely unknown it is somewhat rare to find artistic depictions (i.e. “emblazonments”) of the personal coat of arms of a herald in some way marshaled with the heraldic devices or coat of arms associated with the heraldic office he holds.
It’s very common to see the arms of one of the English Kings of Arms, for example, or that of the Lord Lyon King of Arms. In addition, most heralds and pursuivants (Kings-of-Arms, Heralds and Pursuivants are collectively referred to as “heralds”, using the name of the so called middle rank) employ a heraldic badge to indicate their office. But, it is the somewhat rare occasion when such coats of arms or badges are displayed along with the individual heralds’ personal armorial bearings.
I happened to come across a very handsome one the other day causing me to begin searching the internet to find images of the personal arms of Garter Principal King of Arms, the officer of arms who is the most senior of the heralds in the English College of Arms, ranking immediately below the Earl Marshal, the Duke of Norfolk marshaled to those of the arms of office for Garter. I have, so far, only been able to find a few. I’ll begin with the current Garter King of Arms and work backwards. NOTE: all of the personal coat of arms of the men who served as Garter King of Arms are known. However, here I am referring to depictions where their personal arms are impaled with those of the office of Garter.
Thomas Woodcock, 2010 – present
Sir Peter Gwynn-Jones, 1995 – 2010
Sir Conrad Swan, 1992-1995
Sir Colin Cole, 1978 – 1992
Sir Anthony Wagner, 1961 – 1978
The Hon. Sir George Bellew, 1950 – 1961
Sir Algar Howard, 1944 – 1950
(N.B.: according to the blazon of the arms there should be a crescent sable on the bend for difference.)
[Sir Gerald Wollaston, 1930 – 1944]
Sir Henry Farnham Burke, 1919 – 1930
Sir Alfred Scott-Gatty, 1904 – 1918
Sir Albert Woods, 1869 – 1904
Sir Charles Young, 1842 – 1869
Sir William Woods, 1838 – 1842
[Sir Ralph Bigland, 1831 – 1838]
Sir George Nayler, 1822 – 1831
[Sir Isaac Heard, 1784 – 1822]
[Ralph Bigland, 1780 – 1784]
[Thomas Browne, 1744 – 1780]
[Sir Charles Townley, 1773 – 1774]
Stephen Martin Leake, 1754 – 1773
[John Anstis the younger, 1727 – 1754]
[John Anstis the elder, 1714 – 1744]
Sir Henry St. George the younger, 1703 – 1715
Sir Thomas St. George, 1686 – 1703
[Sir William Dugdale, 1677 – 1686]
[Sir Edward Bysshe, 1646 – 1660]
[Sir Edward Walker, 1645 – 1677]
Sir Henry St. George the elder, April – November, 1644
Thus far back was I able to discover depictions of the personal arms of the various Garter Kings of Arms impaled with the arms of office. Of course the office is much older than 1644. The first garter King of Arms, William Bruges, was appointed in 1417! I have only listed the bracketed names and dates of the Kings of Arms for whom I could not find examples of their impaled arms to fill in gaps between those that I did find. But, I’ll keep looking!
UPDATE: I was able to add six more but there search continues!
Sir Conrad Marshall John Fisher Swan KCVO FSA (born 13 May 1924) was a retired long-serving officer of arms at the College of Arms in London. Having been first appointed to work at the College in 1962, he rose to the office of Garter Principal King of Arms in 1992, a position he held until 1995. He was the first Canadian ever to be appointed to the College of Arms. He was first appointed Rouge Dragon Pursuivant of Arms in Ordinary in 1962 and six years later became York Herald of Arms in Ordinary. In these capacities, he was among the Earl Marshal’s staff for the State Funeral of Sir Winston Churchill in 1965, the Investiture of the Prince of Wales in 1969, and was Gentleman Usher-in-Waiting to Pope John Paul II during his visit to the United Kingdom in 1982.
Swan was appointed Garter Principal King of Arms in 1992 on the retirement of Sir Alexander Colin Cole. His own retirement came in 1995, after having been diagnosed with cancer.
Swan was knighted by Her Majesty The Queen in 1994 as a Knight Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (KCVO). He is also a Knight Grand Cross of the Order of the Nation of Antigua and Barbuda (KGCN), Knight of Honour and Devotion of the Order of Malta, Cross of Commander of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland, Knight’s Cross of the Order of the Grand Duke Gediminas (Lithuania), Knight Grand Cross of Justice of the Sacred Military Constantinian Order of Saint George, Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of Francis I (GCFO) and Knight Grand Cross of the Royal Order of the Lion of Rwanda.
He was also a Knight of the Most Venerable Order of St. John of Jerusalem and Knight Principal of the Imperial Society of Knights Bachelor (1995–2000); Commander (with Star) of the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit; Grand Cross with Grand Collar of the Imperial Order of the Holy Trinity (Ethiopia); Coronation Medal of the King of Tonga. He received the Commemorative Medal for the Centennial of Saskatchewan in 2005.
May he rest in peace.
A couple of years ago I wrote about clergy who make use of more than one version of their coats of arms depending on offices held or circumstances of use. Once again I’ve come across a fine example.
The current Lord Lyon King of Arms, the principal heraldic authority for Her Majesty in Scotland is not only a heraldic expert and a jurist but he is also an ordained clergyman in the Scottish Episcopal Church (a.k.a. the Anglican Church north of the border). The Rev. Canon Dr. Joseph John Morrow, CBE, KStJ, QC, DL, LLD possesses a very nice coat of arms of his own.
This coat of arms can be displayed all alone or, as Lord Lyon sometimes has chosen to do, with the helm, mantling and crest of the typical armorial achievement.
However, sometimes this coat of arms is also displayed with the external ornaments proper to the Office of Lord Lyon King of Arms.
Additionally, the Office of Lord Lyon has its own armorial bearings which may be used by the incumbent of the office of Lord Lyon in a “greater” form:
as well as a “lesser” or smaller version.
Finally, the current Lord Lyon may choose to impale his personal arms with those of Lord Lyon and display them with the external ornaments of the office, including the red lion supporters:
or he may impale his personal arms with the arms of office and display them with some of the external ornaments of Lord Lyon as well as his own crest and supporters.
Same man; same arms; many versions.
Despite my speculation in a previous post the newly-created coat of arms for the Duchess of Sussex was released today!
According to the website of the Royal Family:
A Coat of Arms has been created for The Duchess of Sussex. The design of the Arms was agreed and approved by Her Majesty The Queen and Mr. Thomas Woodcock (Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England), who is based at the College of Arms in London.
Her Royal Highness worked closely with the College of Arms throughout the design process to create a Coat of Arms that was both personal and representative.
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.
Beneath the shield on the grass sits a collection of golden poppies, California’s state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace.
It is customary for Supporters of the shield to be assigned to Members of the Royal Family, and for wives of Members of the Royal Family to have one of their husband’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.
A Coronet has also been assigned to The Duchess of Sussex. It is the Coronet 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.
Mr. Thomas Woodcock, Garter King 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. ”