Meghan Markle Coat of Arms

Meghan Markle's coat of arms dissected: How it breaks royal tradition and pays tribute to USA

While she’s royal, Meghan Markle will always will be a California girl — and her new coat of arms is indicative of that. Kensington Palace revealed the newly-minted Duchess of Sussex’s traditional design on Friday, May 25. The design of the arms was agreed and approved by Queen Elizabeth and Mr. Thomas Woodcock — Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England. Prince Harry’s wife worked closely with the College of Arms to get the design right to reflect her American roots, while being representative of the royal family.

The palace revealed Meghan's coat of arms on May 25 Photo: Twitter/KensingtonRoyal

The palace noted, “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 and the power of words.”


The design also includes a collection of golden poppies, California's state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace. According to Kensington Palace, it is customary when creating arms for supporters of the shield to be assigned to the royal family, and for wives of the royal family to have one of their husband’s supporters and one relating to themselves. As such, the supporter for Meghan’s new arms is a songbird and an open beak as well as a quill, which "represents the power of communication.”

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The Suits alum’s coat of arms is a break from royal tradition. It was previously reported that unlike Kate Middleton's father, Michael, who was gifted a coat of arms ahead of her 2011 royal wedding, Meghan’s dad Thomas Markle would not be granted one. Instead, the design was given directly to the former American actress. The decision follows the Markle family drama that led up to Harry and Meghan’s royal wedding.

The couple said "I do" on May 19 ;Photo: Alexi Lubomirski

Speaking about the design, Thomas Woodcock said: "The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design. 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. "

Meghan's official cypher was also revealed Photo: Kensington Palace

A coronet has also been assigned to the new Duchess. 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. 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.

Prince Harry's coat of arms was given to him to celebrate his 18th birthday. His is based on the quartered arms of England, Scotland and Ireland, features a lion and a unicorn on either side of the shield, and is topped by a coronet and a second, smaller lion. Princess Diana's family is also represented in his Arms by small, red escallops which appear on the white collars worn by the lions, unicorn and shield.

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