Royal coat of arms of Great Britain

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The Royal Arms of Great Britain from 1714 to 1801, with crest, supporters and motto Coat of Arms of Great Britain (1714-1801).svg
The Royal Arms of Great Britain from 1714 to 1801, with crest, supporters and motto

The Royal coat of arms of Great Britain was the coat of arms representing royal authority in the sovereign state of the Kingdom of Great Britain, in existence from 1707 to 1801. The kingdom came into being on 1 May 1707, with the political union of the kingdom of Scotland and the kingdom of England, which included Wales. With the 1706 Treaty of Union (ratified by the Acts of Union 1707), it was agreed to create a single kingdom, encompassing the whole of the island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, but not Ireland, which remained a separate realm under the newly created British crown.

Coat of arms unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon

A coat of arms is a heraldic visual design on an escutcheon, surcoat, or tabard. The coat of arms on an escutcheon forms the central element of the full heraldic achievement which in its whole consists of shield, supporters, crest, and motto. A coat of arms is traditionally unique to an individual person, family, state, organization or corporation.

Kingdom of Great Britain constitutional monarchy in Western Europe between 1707–1801

The Kingdom of Great Britain, officially called simply Great Britain, was a sovereign state in western Europe from 1 May 1707 to 31 December 1800. The state came into being following the Treaty of Union in 1706, ratified by the Acts of Union 1707, which united the kingdoms of England and Scotland to form a single kingdom encompassing the whole island of Great Britain and its outlying islands, with the exception of the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. It also did not include Ireland, which remained a separate realm. The unitary state was governed by a single parliament and government that was based in Westminster. The former kingdoms had been in personal union since James VI of Scotland became King of England and King of Ireland in 1603 following the death of Elizabeth I, bringing about the "Union of the Crowns". After the accession of George I to the throne of Great Britain in 1714, the kingdom was in a personal union with the Electorate of Hanover.

A political union is a type of state which is composed of or created out of smaller states. The process is called unification . Unification of states that used to be together and are reuniting is referred to as reunification. Unlike a personal union or real union, the individual states share a central government and the union is recognized internationally as a single political entity. A political union may also be called a legislative union or state union.


On 1 January 1801, the royal arms of Great Britain were superseded by those of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, when Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland by the Acts of Union of 1800 following the suppression of the Irish Rebellion of 1798.

United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland Historical sovereign state from 1801 to 1927

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland was established by the Acts of Union 1800, which merged the kingdoms of Great Britain and Ireland.

Kingdom of Ireland Historical kingdom on the island of Ireland between 1542 and 1801

The Kingdom of Ireland was a client state of England and then of Great Britain that existed from 1542 until 1800. It was ruled by the monarchs of England and then of Great Britain in personal union with their other realms. The kingdom was administered from Dublin Castle nominally by the King or Queen, who appointed a viceroy to rule in their stead. It had its own legislature, peerage, legal system, and state church.

Acts of Union 1800 acts of the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland which united the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland

The Acts of Union 1800 were parallel acts of the Parliament of Great Britain and the Parliament of Ireland which united the Kingdom of Great Britain and the Kingdom of Ireland to create the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. The acts came into force on 1 January 1801, and the merged Parliament of the United Kingdom had its first meeting on 22 January 1801.

Union of the Crowns and the Commonwealth

The Union of the Crowns places England, Ireland and Scotland under one monarch
Royal Arms of England (1603-1707).svg Royal Arms of the Kingdom of Scotland (1603-1707).svg
1603–1689 James VI, King of Scots inherited the English and Irish thrones in 1603 (Union of the Crowns), and quartered the Royal Arms of England with those of Scotland. For the first time, the Royal Coat of Arms of Ireland was added to represent the Kingdom of Ireland. [1] (The Scottish version differs in giving the Scottish elements more precedence.)
Coat of arms of the Commonwealth of England.svg

These novel arms, already in use by parliamentarians in 1648, were adopted by the Commonwealth of England established in 1649. [2]

Commonwealth of England Historic republic on the British Isles (1649–1660)

The Commonwealth was the period from 1649 to 1660 when England and Wales, later along with Ireland and Scotland, were ruled as a republic following the end of the Second English Civil War and the trial and execution of Charles I. The republic's existence was declared through "An Act declaring England to be a Commonwealth", adopted by the Rump Parliament on 19 May 1649. Power in the early Commonwealth was vested primarily in the Parliament and a Council of State. During the period, fighting continued, particularly in Ireland and Scotland, between the parliamentary forces and those opposed to them, as part of what is now referred to as the Third English Civil War.

Coat of arms of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.svg

The Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland (the Protectorate) was created in 1653. St Andrew's Cross was added to the arms in 1654. [3]

Arms of the Protectorate (1653-1659).svg
1655–1659The arms of the Commonwealth from 1655 to 1659. Struck in 1655, the Great Seal included the personal arms Oliver Cromwell on a shield in the centre. [1]

Blazon: Quarterly 1 and 4 Argent a Cross Gules (England) 2 Azure a Saltire Argent (Scotland) and 3 Azure a Harp Or Stringed Argent (Ireland) on an Inescutcheon Sable a Lion Rampant Argent (Cromwell's arms). The supporters were a crowned lion of England and a red dragon of Wales. The Scottish unicorn was removed, as it was associated with the Stuart Monarchy. The motto read PAX QUÆRITUR BELLO ("peace is obtained through war"). [4]

Coat of arms of the Commonwealth of England, Scotland and Ireland.svg

Following the Protectorate, the 1654 arms were restored.

Royal Arms of England (1603-1707).svg Royal Arms of the Kingdom of Scotland (1603-1707).svg
1603–1689 Charles II restored the Royal Arms following the restoration after the civil wars.
Royal Arms of England (1689-1694).svg Arms of Scotland (1689-1694).svg
1689–1694 King James II & VII is deposed and replaced with his daughter Mary and her husband, William, Prince of Orange ruling jointly as William III & II and Mary II. As King and Queen Regnant they impaled their arms: William bore the Royal Arms with an escutcheon of Nassau (the royal house to which William belonged) added (a golden lion rampant on a blue field), while Mary bore the Royal Arms undifferenced. [5] [6]
Royal Arms of England (1694-1702).svg Arms of Scotland (1694-1702).svg
1694–1702After the death of Mary II, William III reigned alone, and used his arms only. [1] [5]
Royal Arms of England (1603-1707).svg Royal Arms of the Kingdom of Scotland (1603-1707).svg
1702–1707 Queen Anne inherited the throne upon the death of King William III & II, and the Royal Arms returned to the 1603 version. [1]

After the Acts of Union 1707

Coats of arms of Great Britain
Royal Arms of Great Britain (1707-1714).svg
1707–1714When the Acts of Union 1707 created the Kingdom of Great Britain (1707–1800), the Royal Arms of England and Scotland were impaled and moved to the first and fourth quarters, with the royal arms of France in the second quarter and the harp of Ireland in the third. [7]
Royal Arms of Great Britain (1714-1801).svg
1714–1800Following the death of Queen Anne, George I, previously Elector of Hanover inherited the throne under the provisions of the Act of Settlement 1701, and as a result the fourth quarter of the arms was changed to represent the new king's ancestry in Hanover: BrunswickLüneburgWestphalia, surmounted by the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire for the Holy Roman office of Archtreasurer. [7]


  1. 1 2 3 4 Brooke-Little, J.P., FSA (1978) [1950]. Boutell's Heraldry (Revised ed.). London: Frederick Warne LTD. pp. 205–222. ISBN   0-7232-2096-4.
  2. Petchey, W.J., Massachusetts (1967). A Short Account of the Armorial Bearings of the Sovereigns of England. London: National Council of Social Service.
  3. Scotland was formally reunited with England by an Ordinance of 12 April 1654 which ordered: "That the arms of Scotland viz: a Cross commonly called the St Andrew's Cross be received onto and borne from henceforth in the Arms of this Commonwealth ... etc". 'April 1654: An Ordinance for uniting Scotland into one Commonwealth with England.', Acts and Ordinances of the Interregnum, 1642–1660 (1911), pp. 871–875. URL: Date accessed: 1 January 2011.
  4. Friar, Basic Heraldry (1993).
  5. 1 2 François Velde's Heraldica site
  6. Arnaud Bunel's Héraldique européenne site
  7. 1 2 Brooke-Little, J. P. (1978) [1950]. Boutell's Heraldry (Revised ed.). London: Frederick Warne LTD. pp. 205–222. ISBN   0-7232-2096-4.

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