Meghan Markle has certainly made a mark on the British monarchy in the short time she’s been in the public eye. The American actress stole Prince Harry’s heart and has since captured the world’s attention with her red carpet fashion sense, her dedication to equal rights and her grace under the newfound pressures of becoming a royal. And as millions of people watched Markle marry her prince during the grand Royal Wedding, they could see her touches throughout the ceremony, in everything from the dress to the music.
Now that all of the festivities are over, the new Duchess of Sussex has to start handling all sorts of royal responsibilities and decisions. She started working on many of these things even before her wedding day in order to be able to take on her new role right away.
One of the formalities of being a member of the royal family is helping to design a coat of arms. A coat of arms is a visual representation of the individual holding a royal title. In Britain, there is an official College of Arms responsible for designing these traditional emblems for the royals.
According to the official Kensington Palace press release, the Duchess of Sussex worked closely with the designers to create her coat of arms:
— The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge (@KensingtonRoyal) May 25, 2018
“The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design,” said Thomas Woodcock, Garter Principal King of Arms. “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.”
The Symbolism Behind Markle’s Coat Of Arms
But what do all of the symbols in the design mean? We’ve got a breakdown of Meghan Markle’s latest royal gift from the Queen (yes, the Queen has to approve the coat of arms!).
The Blue Background
The blue background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast.
California Is Represented In The Coat Of Arms
The Duchess’ home state of California is represented by two golden rays across the shield representing sunshine. Beneath the shield on the grass sits a collection of golden poppies, California’s state flower. The other flower shown is wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace.
The Three Quills
The three quills represent communication and the power of words.
The Lion And The Bird
The animals in the coat of arms represent Prince Harry (the lion) and Meghan Markle (the songbird).
A coronet is another word for crown, and the Duchess of Sussex had one designed for her new coat of arms. According to the press release, 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.”
What do you think of the final design?