Royal Arms

Updated: May 17





The current royal arms are a combination of the arms of the former kingdoms that make up the United Kingdom, & can be traced back to the first arms of the kings of England & kings of Scots.


Various alterations occurred over the years as the arms of other realms acquired or claimed by the kings were added to the royal arms.



This blog will concentrate on the current royal family & shield of arms.



Definition of shield of arms

: a coat of arms carried or displayed on a shield or shield-shaped object or design.


Queen Elizabeth II

Queen Elizabeth II


The Irish harp was modified to a plain Gaelic harp, rather than a winged female, in 1952 in accordance with the personal preference of Queen Elizabeth. The Royal Arms do not incorporate any specific element for Wales, a principality, incorporated into the Kingdom of England under Henry VIII. However, the Prince of Wales places arms for Wales at the centre of his personal arms. In use in all Her Realms except Scotland: 1953 -.


Queen Elizabeth II shield of arms 1953-


Queen Elizabeth II shield of arms as used in Scotland

For more information about the Coat of Arms used by the Queen past & present, her personal flags & the Royal Standard, visit https://www.thebritishmonarchy.co.uk/coat-of-arms-flags.





The Current Royal Family


Members of the British royal family are granted their own personal arms which are based on the Royal Arms. Only children & grandchildren in the male line of the monarch are entitled to arms in this fashion: the arms of children of the monarch are differenced with a three-point label; grandchildren of the monarch are differenced with a five-point label. An exception is made for the eldest son of the Prince of Wales, who bears a three-point label. Since 1911, the arms of the Prince of Wales also displays an inescutcheon* of the ancient arms of the Principality of Wales. Queen consorts & the wives of sons of the monarch also have their own personal coat of arms. Normally this will be the arms of their husband impaled with their own personal arms or those of their father, if armigerous. However, the consorts of a Queen regnant are not entitled to use the Royal Arms. Thus Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh has been granted his own personal arms, we'll look at consorts later in this blog.


* inescutcheon - In heraldry, an escutcheon is a shield that forms the main or focal element in an achievement of arms. The word is used in two related senses. First, as the shield on which a coat of arms is displayed; second, a shield can itself be a charge within a coat of arms.




Charles, the Prince of Wales


Shield of arms of HRH Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales (born 1948) son of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh. The arms was granted in 1958 to him as the Heir-Apparent to the British & Commonwealth thrones.


Quarterly, 1st & 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed and langued Azure (for England), 2nd quarter Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland), 3rd quarter Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland), with over all a label of three points Argent, and on an inescutcheon ensigned by the coronet of the heir-apparent, quarterly, Or & Gules four lions passant guardant counter changed (for the Principality of Wales).


The Prince of Wales

Prince Charles in Scotland

In Scotland, Prince Charles is known as The Duke of Rothesay, a dynastic title of the heir apparent to the British throne.


It was a title of the heir apparent to the throne of the Kingdom of Scotland before 1707, of the Kingdom of Great Britain from 1707 to 1801, & now of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland. It is the title mandated for use by the heir apparent when in Scotland, in preference to the titles Duke of Cornwall (which also belongs to the eldest living son of the monarch, when & only when he is also heir apparent, by right) & Prince of Wales (traditionally granted to the heir apparent), which are used in the rest of the United Kingdom & overseas.


The Duke of Rothesay also holds other Scottish titles, including those of Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, & Prince & Great Steward of Scotland. The title is named after Rothesay on the Isle of Bute, Argyll & Bute, but is not associated with any legal entity or landed property, unlike the Duchy of Cornwall.


The Shield of Arms of Prince Charles as used in Scotland, the arms of the Duke of Rothesay are those of Clan Stewart of Appin adapted, namely the quartered arms of the Prince & Great Steward of Scotland & Lord of the Isles (secondary titles of the Duke) with an inescutcheon as Scottish heir apparent (the Royal Arms of Scotland with a blue three-point label).


"The Prince of Wales had the idea of incorporating his Scottish titles - Duke of Rothesay, Lord of the Isles & Great Steward of Scotland - into a banner. It was designed in 1974 by Sir Iain Moncrieffe in his capacity as Albany Herald & approved by The Queen later that year.

The standard, exclusively for use when The Prince is in Scotland, was first flown on 21st July 1976, when he visited Loch Kishorn, Wester Ross, to launch the Ninian Central oil platform production dock, the site of which was part of the ancient lordship of the Isles. The standard is also known as His Royal Highness's Scottish Banner. The first & fourth quarterings of the banner - blue & white chequered band across a gold background - represent the Great Steward of Scotland. The second & third quarterings - a black galley with red flags on a white background - represent the Lord of the Isles. Superimposed in the centre is a small gold shield with the red Lion Rampant within a red Royal Tressure on it, charged with a blue label of 3 points. This represents the Dukedom of Rothesay"


Charles, Duke of Rothesay

Prince William, Duke of Cambridge


Shield of Arms of HRH Prince William, Duke of Cambridge (Formerly Prince William of Wales). (born 1982) son of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales & Lady Diana Spencer.


The arms was granted in June 2000, on his 18th birthday. The small red ‘escallop’ or sea-shell on the central point alludes to the arms of his mother & the Spencer family. He is the only one of Queen Elizabeth II's grandchild to bear a label of three points (usually reserved only for a child of the Sovereign).


Blazon: Quarterly, 1st and 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed & langued Azure (for England), 2nd quarter Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland), 3rd quarter Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland), with over all a label of three points Argent the central point charged with an Escallop Gules.


Prince William, Duke of Cambridge


Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex

The second son of Prince Charles, Prince of Wales & Lady Diana Spencer. The coat of arms was granted in September 2002, on his 18th birthday. The design is derived from the armorial bearings of HM the Queen, with an identifying addition evolved from the Arms used by the princes’ mother, the late Diana, Princess of Wales. The three small red ‘escallop’ or sea-shell on the label alludes to the arms of his mother & the Spencer family.


Blazon; Quarterly, 1st & 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed & langued Azure (for England), 2nd quarter Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland), 3rd quarter Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland), with over all a label of five points Argent the first, third & fifth points charged with an Escallop Gules.


Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex

Princess Anne, the Princess Royal


The Arms of HRH Princess Anne, Princess Royal (born 1950) only daughter of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh. The coat of arms was granted in 1962.


Quarterly, 1st & 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed & langued Azure (for England), 2nd quarter Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland), 3rd quarter Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland), with over all a label of three points Argent charged on a centre point with a Heart Gules & on each of the others with a cross Gules.


The Princess Royal


Prince Andrew, Duke of York

Arms of HRH Prince Andrew, Duke of York. (born 1960) second son of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh. The coat of arms was granted in 1963. The label of three points, with the central point charged with an anchor; was previously borne by his grandfather King George VI (he was also a Duke of York prior to becoming king) & King George V (also a Duke of York, before becoming the Prince of Wales, then king).


Quarterly, 1st & 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed & langued Azure (for England), 2nd quarter Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland), 3rd quarter Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland), with over all a label of three points Argent the central point charged with an Anchor Azure.


Prince Andrew, Duke of York

Princess Beatrice

Arms of HRH Princess Beatrice of York. (born 1988) first daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York and Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. The coat of arms was granted in July 2006, on her 18th birthday. The three small bees on the label alludes to the arms of her mother Sarah. The appearance of the bees thrice is also a canting (heraldic punning) on her name: Beatrice.

Quarterly, 1st & 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed & langued Azure (for England), 2nd quarter Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland), 3rd quarter Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland), with over all a label of five points Argent the first, third & fifth points charged with a Bee volant proper.


Princess Beatrice of York

Princess Eugenie of York

Arms of HRH Princess Eugenie of York. (born 1990) second daughter of Prince Andrew, Duke of York & Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York. The coat of arms was granted in July 2008, on her 18th birthday. The three thistle heads on the label alludes to the arms of her mother Sarah.


As a male-line grandchild of the sovereign, Eugenie was known as "Her Royal Highness Princess Eugenie of York", with the territorial designation coming from her father's title, Duke of York. Since her marriage, she has been styled "Princess Eugenie, Mrs Jack Brooksbank", in the Court Circular.


Quarterly, 1st & 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed & langued Azure (for England), 2nd quarter Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland), 3rd quarter Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland), with over all a label of five points Argent the first, third & fifth points charged with a Thistle head proper.

Princess Eugenie of York



Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex

Arms of HRH Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. (born 1964) third son of Queen Elizabeth II & Prince Philip the Duke of Edinburgh. The coat of arms was granted in 1983.


Quarterly, 1st & 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed & langued Azure (for England), 2nd quarter Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland), 3rd quarter Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland), with over all a label of three points Argent the central point charged with an Tudor rose.



Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester

Arms of HRH Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester. (born 1944) second son of Prince Henry, Duke of Gloucester (third son of King George V) & Alice Montagu Douglas Scott. The coat of arms was granted in 1962.


Quarterly, 1st & 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed & langued Azure (for England), 2nd quarter Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland), 3rd quarter Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland), with over all a label of five points Argent, the centre & two outer points charged with a cross Gules, & the inner points with a lion passant guardant also of Gules.

Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent


Arms of HRH Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. (born 1935) first son of Prince George, Duke of Kent (fourth son of King George V) & Princess Marina of Greece & Denmark. The coat of arms was granted in 1948.

Quarterly, 1st and 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed & langued Azure (for England), 2nd quarter Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland), 3rd quarter Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland), with over all a label of five points Argent, the first, third & fifth points charged with a anchor Azure, & the second & fourth points with a cross Gules.

Prince Edward, Duke of Kent

Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy


Arms of HRH Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy. (born 1936) only daughter of Prince George, Duke of Kent (fourth son of King George V) & Princess Marina of Greece and Denmark. The coat of arms was granted in 1961.

Blazon; Quarterly, 1st & 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed & langued Azure (for England), 2nd quarter Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland), 3rd quarter Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland), with over all a label of five points Argent, the first & fifth points bear a heart Gules, the second & fourth points bear an anchor Azure, & the third point bears a cross Gules, the lozenge ensigned by a coronet of a grandchild of the Sovereign, the whole surrounded by the Garter, for supporters, dexter a lion rampant guardant Or crowned by the same coronet, sinister a unicorn Argent armed, crined & unguled Proper, gorged with the same coronet, attached thereto a chain affixed thereto passing between the forelegs & reflexed over the back also Or, both charged on the shoulder with a label as in the arms.

Princess Alexandra, The Honourable Lady Ogilvy


Prince Michael of Kent


Arms of HRH Prince Michael of Kent. (born 1942) second son of Prince George, Duke of Kent (fourth son of King George V) & Princess Marina of Greece & Denmark. The coat of arms was granted in 1962.

Quarterly, 1st & 4th Gules three lions passant guardant in pale Or armed & langued Azure (for England), 2nd quarter Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory-counter-flory Gules (for Scotland), 3rd quarter Azure a harp Or stringed Argent (for Ireland), with over all a label of five points Argent, the first, third & fifth points bear a cross Gules, & the second & fourth points bear an anchor Azure.

Prince Michael of Kent


Royal Consorts

A royal consort is the spouse of a ruling king or queen. Consorts of monarchs in the United Kingdom & its predecessors have no constitutional status or power but many had significant influence over their spouse.

Some royal consorts, such as current consort Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, have also helped to enhance the image of the Monarchy by becoming celebrities in their own right. Prince Philip is the longest-serving & oldest-ever consort. His mother-in-law, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother, who died aged 101, lived longer but at the time of her death she did not hold the position of consort, as her husband King George VI died 50 years before her. I will also cover other royal consorts, ie. the wife of Prince William.


Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh


Shield of Arms of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh (born 1921) granted in 1949 to Prince Philip of Greece and Denmark (Sir Philip Mountbatten) consort to Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland. In 1947 the Prince was made Duke of Edinburgh, Earl of Merioneth & Baron Greenwich by King George VI. The shield of arms represents his lineage as a Prince of Greece and Denmark on his paternal side & his descent of the Mountbatten family on his maternal side.

Quarterly, First Or, semée of hearts Gules, three lions passant in pale Azure (For Denmark), Second Azure, a cross Argent (For Greece), Third Argent, two pallets Sable (For Battenberg or Mountbatten), Fourth Argent, upon a rock Proper a castle triple towered Sable, masoned Argent, windows, port, turret-caps & vanes Gules (For Edinburgh).

Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh

Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall


The Royal Arms of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall (born 1947), wife of Charles, Prince of Wales (2005-present).

On the Duchess's 58th birthday, Clarence House announced that Camilla had been granted by the Queen a coat of arms for her own personal use. It was reported that the Queen, Charles, & Camilla all took a "keen interest" in the arms' creation, & they were prepared by Peter Gwynn-Jones, Garter Principal King of Arms. The Duchess's coat of arms impale the Prince's main coat of arms to the dexter, with her father's coat of arms to the sinister.


Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall


The Duchess of Cambridge


The Arms of HRH, the Duchess of Cambridge (born 1982). The coat of arms depict the arms of her husband (Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge) impaled with those of her father Michael Middleton.


The Middleton family’s heraldic design (right half of the shield) was commissioned by Kate’s father in time for the marriage of his daughter to Prince William.


The oak tree is a traditional symbol of England & strength, & is a feature of West Berkshire where her family have lived for more than thirty years. The three sprigs of acorn represent Michael & Carole Middleton’s three children.


The inverted ‘V’ or chevron symbolises Kate’s mother Carole Middleton in the centre of the family, and is gold as her maiden name is ‘Goldsmith’.


The thin white chevrononels above & below the gold chevron, symbolise peaks & mountains, reflecting the family love of the Lake District & skiing.


The Duchess of Cambridge

The Duchess of Sussex

The arms of the Duke of Sussex impaled with those of her own design, crowned with the coronet of a child of the heir-apparent.

The Arms of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (born 1981). The wife of Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. Meghan bears the arms of her husband impaled with her own. Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms, the senior officer of the College of Arms, helped the Duchess with the design, which was approved by the Queen. Arms granted 25 May 2018.

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 & the power of words.

The Duchess of Sussex


The Countess of Wessex

Coat of Arms of Sophie, Countess of Wessex, wife of Edward, Earl of Wessex (1999-present)

The arms of the Earl of Wessex impaled with those granted in 1999 to her father, Christopher Rhys-Jones, with remainder to his elder brother Theo. The new grant was based on an unregistered 200-year-old design. The lion alludes to one of the Countess' ancestors the Welsh knight Elystan Glodrydd, prince of Ferrig (represented by the lion).

The colours of red & blue are also the colours of the Royal Fusiliers Regiment, in which members of her family have served. She is quoted saying: "It's wonderful, I'm absolutely thrilled", "It's not modern & different, because it is representative of my family's heritage, so it's in keeping with that."


The Countess of Wessex


The Duchess of Gloucester


Royal Arms of Birgitte, Duchess of Gloucester (born 1946) the wife of Prince Richard, Duke of Gloucester, depicting her husband's armorial bearings surmounted by an escutcheon of pretence granted to her by Royal Warrant, since 1973. The Duke of Gloucester's arms & in the centre an escutcheon of pretence Azure a lapwing proper, on a chief Or two pairs of ostrich feathers in saltire Sable.


The Duchess of Gloucester

Katharine, Duchess of Kent


Coat of Arms of Katharine, Duchess of Kent (born 1933), the wife of Prince Edward, Duke of Kent. Depicting HRH The Duke of Kent's arms impaled with those of her father, Sir William Worsley, 4th Baronet.

The Duchess of Kent

Princess Michael of Kent


Princess Michael of Kent (born Baroness Marie Christine von Reibnitz (born 1945), & the wife of Prince Michael of Kent.

Arms of Princess Michael of Kent, depicting her husband's arms impaled with her patrilineal von Reibnitz coat of arms.

Princess Michael of Kent



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