Kingdoms of England & Scotland

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.

 

The photos below track the changes in the royal arms from the original arms of King Richard I of England, & William I, King of Scots, through royal history

Kingdom of England

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Kingdom of Scotland

The Union of the Crowns places England, Ireland & Scotland under one monarch

At the Union creating Great Britain in 1707, arms were adopted for the new kingdom, & again in 1801 at the Union creating the United Kingdom

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.

Modern royal consorts

Royal Houses

English Consorts

The English royal consorts were the spouses of the reigning monarchs of the Kingdom of England who were not themselves monarchs of England: spouses of some English monarchs who were themselves English monarchs are not listed, comprising Mary I & Philip who reigned together in the 16th century, & William III & Mary II who reigned together in the 17th century. These coat of arms represent these consorts in our royal history.

Most of the consorts are women, & enjoyed titles & honours pertaining to a queen consort; some few are men, whose titles were not consistent, depending upon the circumstances of their spouses' reigns.

 

The Kingdom of England merged with the Kingdom of Scotland in 1707, to form the Kingdom of Great Britain. There have thus been no consorts of England since that date.

The consorts prior to Isabella of Angoulême have no known coat of arms so are not included in this list. 

British 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.

Since the foundation of the Kingdom of Great Britain in 1707, it & the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Ireland have had ten royal consorts.

 

Queens between 1727 and 1814 were also Electress of Hanover, as their husbands all held the title of Elector of Hanover. Between 1814 & 1837, queens held the title as Queen of Hanover, as their husbands were Kings of Hanover.

 

The personal union with the United Kingdom ended in 1837 on the accession of Queen Victoria because the succession laws (Salic Law) in Hanover prevented a female inheriting the title if there was any surviving male heir (in the United Kingdom, a male took precedence over only his own sisters, until the Succession to the Crown Act 2013 which removed male primogeniture).

Not all wives of monarchs have become consorts, as they may have died, been divorced, had their marriage declared invalid prior to their husbands' ascending the throne, or married after abdication. Such as Wallis Warfield Simpson, wife of Edward VIII (as Duke of Windsor), & therefore not the wife of a reigning king, married 3 June 1937, died 24 April 1986.

All female consorts have had the right to be & have been styled as queens consort. However, of the three British male consorts to have existed since 1707, none was considered king consort:

Prince George of Denmark, husband of Queen Anne likewise never received the official style of Prince Consort, but was raised to the peerage of England as the Duke of Cumberland in 1689, before his wife's accession in 1702.


Prince Albert of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, husband of Queen Victoria, did not take an English peerage title but was granted the title of Prince Consort as a distinct title, in 1857, the only male consort in either the United Kingdom or its predecessor realms to have officially held the title. It was suggested at first that he would in fact become King, but this was decided against by the Government.


Prince Philip of Greece & Denmark, husband of Elizabeth II, already raised to the peerage as Duke of Edinburgh in 1947, was made a Prince of the United Kingdom in 1957. He is not styled as Prince Consort.

 


Since 1707, only George I & Edward VIII have been unmarried throughout their reign.