Meghan Markle, the newly minted Duchess of Sussex, has been honored with her very own coat of arms. Kensington Palace unveiled the design Friday morning with an Instagram post. The shield is red and blue, with gold lions covering the red half and three white quills separated by two gold streaks on the blue half, and flanked by Prince Harry’s gold lion on the left and a white songbird on the right. Underneath it all grows a field of California poppies.
Kensington Palace followed up the Instagram post with a quick breakdown of the details (and numerous California shout-outs) on Instagram Stories. “The Duchess worked closely with the College of Arms to create a Coat of Arms that was personal and representative,” Kensington Palace wrote. “The Blue background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California Coast. The two golden rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine of The Duchess’s home state. The three quills represent communication and the power of words. Beneath the shield sits a collection of golden poppies, California’s state flower.”
Kensington Palace elaborated in a statement on its website that alongside the golden poppies is wintersweet, a plant that grows at Kensington Palace. The palace also shared some more details about the coat of arms, which was “agreed and approved by” the Queen and Thomas Woodcock, Garter Principal King of Arms and Senior Herald in England. “It is customary for Supporters of the shield to be assigned to Members of the Royal Family, and for wives of Members of the Royal Family to have one of their husband’s Supporters and one relating to themselves,” the statement read, referring to the lion and the songbird on either side of the shield. “The Supporter relating to The Duchess of Sussex is a songbird with wings elevated as if flying and an open beak, which with the quill represents the power of communication.”
“A Coronet has also been assigned to The Duchess of Sussex,” the statement added. (Peep the crown on top of the shield and around the songbird’s neck.) “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.”
In addition to the details, Kensington Palace explained the composition of the coat of arms. “The arms of a married woman are shown with those of her husband and the technical term is that they are impaled, meaning placed side by side in the same shield,” the statement read.
“The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design,” Woodcock said in the statement. “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.” Californians represent!