Why Meghan Markle's Coat of Arms breaks tradition

Jess Edwards
Photo credit: Getty Images

From Harper's BAZAAR

Now that she's officially married to Prince Harry, Meghan Markle has not only been granted a title change - Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Sussex - but also an official Coat of Arms.

In a statement by Kensington Palace, Meghan's new Coat of Arms was unveiled, along with the meaning behind the creation.

The Palace said:

"Her Royal Highness worked closely with the College of Arms throughout the design process to create a Coat of Arms that was both personal and representative.

"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."

Cute, considering Meghan used to run her own lifestyle site, The Tig.

And those aren't the only hidden meanings in the arms. "Beneath the shield on the grass sits a collection of golden poppies, California's state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace", the statement reads. Wintersweet was also incorporated into Meghan's wedding veil.

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The Palace explains that it is customary for wives of the royal family to have one 'Supporter' relating to their husband - and one relating to themselves.

"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," the Palace said.

In addition, "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."

Meghan's Coat of Arms is slightly different to the Duchess of Cambridge's, who married Prince William in 2011. Her father, Michael Middleton, was actually granted the Coat of Arms to represent the whole Middleton family, and he received it before the wedding.

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In a break with tradition, Meghan has been given her own coat, that doesn't reference her family in any way. Perhaps following all the drama that surrounded her father, Thomas Markle, in the lead-up to the wedding.

In the Middleton family's Coat of Arms, the three acorns represent the three Middleton children - Catherine, Pippa and James - and the gold is a nod to Carole Middleton's maiden name, Goldsmith.

It is also thought that the red-and-blue colour scheme was chosen in reference to the Union Jack and the chevrons are meant to represent hills, to acknowledge the family's love of outdoor pursuits.

In 2013, Kate and William were then granted an official coat of arms for their own family, which married the two coats together.

Photo credit: Getty Images

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