Monday 13 January 2003

royal coat of arms

The function of the Royal Coat of Arms is to identify the person who is Head of State. In respect of the United Kingdom, the royal arms are borne only by the Sovereign.

They are alsoused in many ways in connection with the administration and government of the country, for instance on coins, in churches, on public buildings and by the civil service. You can see the Royal Coat of Arms displayed in the top left of every page of this website. The Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom have evolved over many years and reflect the history of the Monarchy and of the country. The shield shows the various royal emblems of different parts of the United Kingdom in its design: 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.

The shield is surrounded by a garter bearing the motto Honi soit qui mal y pense (’Evil to him who evil thinks’), which symbolises the Order of the Garter, an ancient order of knighthood of which the Queen is Sovereign.

The shield is supported by the English lion and Scottish unicorn and is topped by the Royal crown. Below it appears the motto of the Sovereign, Dieu et mon droit (’God and my right’). The plant badges of the United Kingdom - rose, thistle and shamrock - are often displayed beneath the shield.



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