The Duchess of Cambridge has a new Coat of Arms, following her marriage to The Duke of Cambridge.
The design shows a shield with one half derived from The Duke of Cambridge’s Coat of Arms and the other half from the Middleton family Coat of Arms, granted to Mr. Michael Middleton shortly before the Royal Wedding. The shield is supported by a lion and a white hind and is surmounted by The Duke of Cambridge’s Coronet.
The Queen personally approved the unique Coat of Arms for The Duchess of Cambridge by signing a Royal Warrant.
It is customary for individual versions of the Royal Arms with the Royal Supporters to be assigned by Royal Warrant to members of the Royal Family and for wives of members of the Royal Family to be granted one of their husband’s Supporters and one relating to themselves. The Supporter assigned to The Duchess of Cambridge is a white hind, which has had continuing Royal connections in England since the 14th Century. The lion is the Supporter of The Duke of Cambridge’s Coat of Arms.
The technical heraldic description of The Duchess of Cambridge’s Supporters for her Coat of Arms, known as a ‘blazon’ is “To the dexter the Lion as borne and used as a Supporter by Our Dearly Beloved Grandson His Royal Highness Prince William of Wales Duke of Cambridge and to the sinister a Hind Argent unguled and gorged with a Coronet of Our Dearly Beloved Grandson’s degree Or”.
The hind is white (Argent) and is hooved (unguled) and has about its neck (is gorged) The Duke of Cambridge’s Coronet. Both the hooves and Coronet are gold (Or).
The Coronet is the same as that of her husband The Duke of Cambridge, which is at present a Coronet composed of two crosses patée, four fleurs-de-lys and two strawberry leaves. This is the Coronet laid down by a Royal Warrant of 1917 for the sons and daughters of the Heir Apparent.
The white hind has had a long tradition of connections to the Royal Family in England since the fourteenth century. It was the Badge of Joan of Kent (c. 1328-1385), Princess of Wales, better known as the Fair Maid of Kent.
In 1467 an inventory of ornaments and relics at Westminster Abbey included a red altar-cloth and frontal with gold lions and white hinds for the altar of King Henry V. In 1529 King Henry VIII had three hinds carved amongst the eighteen beasts at Hampton Court. The white hind contrasts with the white hart, the favourite Badge of the Fair Maid of Kent’s son Richard II.
The hart or stag is the male red deer and the hind the female. A hind is a forest dweller and stands well next to a Shield where acorns are the principal feature.
Conjugal Coat of Arms
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have a new Conjugal Coat of Arms which will represent them in heraldic terms as a married couple.
Designed by The College of Arms in London, Conjugal Arms traditionally show the separate shields of a Royal husband and wife, side by side.
The Duke’s shield on the left shows his version of the Royal Coat of Arms granted to him by Her Majesty The Queen on his 18th birthday. On the right, The Duchess’s shield is from the Middleton family Coat of Arms, granted to the family in 2011 ahead of her marriage.
The Conjugal Arms will be theirs forever, however as their circumstances and roles alter, elements of the accoutrements around the shields may change. In addition to their Conjugal Arms, Their Royal Highnesses also retain their own Coats of Arms to represent themselves as individuals.
The Duchess of Cambridge was granted her own Coat of Arms by Her Majesty The Queen after her marriage. This was made by placing her father’s Arms beside those of her husband in what is known as an impaled Coat of Arms.
Heraldic Description of the Conjugal Coat of Arms
The shield on the left is taken from Coat of Arms granted to The Duke of Cambridge by The Queen on his 18th birthday. It shows the various Royal emblems of different parts of the United Kingdom: the three lions of England in the first and fourth quarters, the lion of Scotland in the second and the harp of Ireland in the third.
It is surrounded by a blue garter bearing the motto Honi soit qui mal y pense (‘Shame to those who think evil of it'), which symbolises the Order of the Garter, of which he is a Knight Companion.
The Duchess of Cambridge’s shield on the right shows the Middleton family Arms, granted to her father Mr. Michael Middleton for the Middleton family in March 2011, prior to her marriage. The technical heraldic description of the Middleton Coat of Arms, known as a ‘blazon’ is Per pale Azure and Gules a Chevron Or cotised Argent between three Acorns slipped and leaved Or.
Per Pale means that the Shield is divided vertically with one half blue (Azure) and the other half red (Gules). A Chevron Or means the gold chevron across the centre of the Shield. There are cotises either side of the chevron which are white (Argent). Slipped means ‘with a stalk,’ so the final part of the blazon – and distinguishing feature of the Shield – means three acorns with gold stalks and leaves.
For its placement in the conjugal Arms, The Duchess of Cambridge’s shield is surrounded by a Wreath of Oak, to balance out the Duke’s garter. This is traditional for Royal Spouses who are not themselves entitled to surround their Arms with an order of chivalry.
Both shields are supported by The Duke of Cambridge’s Supporters of the Royal Lion and Unicorn wearing a three pointed collar, known as a label. The label has a red escallop shell derived from the Spencer Coat of Arms which has been used by The Duke's ancestors on his mother's side for many centuries.
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