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.
On 1 January 1801, the royal arms of Great Britain were superseded by those of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, when Great Britain was united with the Kingdom of Ireland by the Acts of Union of 1800 following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.
|1603–1649*||In 1603, James VI, King of Scots, inherited the English and Irish thrones and, ruling those kingdoms as King James I, quartered the Royal Arms of Scotland with those of England. For the first time, the Royal Coat of Arms of Ireland were included. |
James VI & I continued to use a separate Scottish version of arms, which were differenced from those used elsewhere in that the Scottish elements took precedence. (A convention continued by all subsequent British monarchs).
These novel arms, already in use by parliamentarians in 1648, were adopted by the Commonwealth of England established in 1649.
|1655–1659||The 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. |
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").
Following the Protectorate, the 1654 arms were restored.
|1660–1689||Charles II restored the Royal Arms following the restoration after the civil wars.|
|1689–1694||King James II & VII, younger brother of Charles II, was subsequently deposed in favour of 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.|
|1694–1702||After the death of Mary II, William III & II reigned alone, and used his arms only.|
|1702–1707||Anne, daughter of James II & VII and younger sister of Mary II, succeeds William III & II upon his death in 1702, and the Royal Arms are returned to the 1603 version.|
|1707–1714||When 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.|
|1714–1800||Following 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: Brunswick–Lüneburg–Westphalia, surmounted by the Imperial Crown of the Holy Roman Empire for the Holy Roman office of Archtreasurer.|
In heraldry, supporters, sometimes referred to as attendants, are figures or objects usually placed on either side of the shield and depicted holding it up.
The royal coat of arms of the United Kingdom, or the royal arms for short, is the official coat of arms of the British monarch, currently Queen Elizabeth II. These arms are used by the Queen in her official capacity as monarch of the United Kingdom. Variants of the royal arms are used by other members of the British royal family, by the British Government in connection with the administration and government of the country, and some courts and legislatures in a number of Commonwealth realms. In Scotland, there exists a separate version of the royal arms, a variant of which is used by the Scotland Office and the Judiciary. The arms in banner form serve as basis for the monarch's official flag, the Royal Standard.
The royal arms of England are the arms first adopted in a fixed form at the start of the age of heraldry as personal arms by the Plantagenet kings who ruled England from 1154. In the popular mind they have come to symbolise the nation of England, although according to heraldic usage nations do not bear arms, only persons and corporations do. The blazon of the arms of Plantagenet is: Gules, three lions passant guardant in pale or armed and langued azure, signifying three identical gold lions with blue tongues and claws, walking past but facing the observer, arranged in a column on a red background. Although the tincture azure of tongue and claws is not cited in many blazons, they are historically a distinguishing feature of the arms of England. This coat, designed in the High Middle Ages, has been variously combined with those of the Kings of France, Scotland, a symbol of Ireland, the House of Nassau and the Kingdom of Hanover, according to dynastic and other political changes occurring in England, but has not altered since it took a fixed form in the reign of Richard I of England (1189–1199), the second Plantagenet king.
The College of Arms, or Heralds' College, is a royal corporation consisting of professional officers of arms, with jurisdiction over England, Wales, Northern Ireland and some Commonwealth realms. The heralds are appointed by the British Sovereign and are delegated authority to act on behalf of the Crown in all matters of heraldry, the granting of new coats of arms, genealogical research and the recording of pedigrees. The College is also the official body responsible for matters relating to the flying of flags on land, and it maintains the official registers of flags and other national symbols. Though a part of the Royal Household of the United Kingdom, the College is self-financed, unsupported by any public funds.
In heraldry, an augmentation is a modification or addition to a coat of arms, typically given by a monarch as either a mere mark of favour, or a reward or recognition for some meritorious act. The grants of entire new coats by monarchs as a reward are not augmentations, but rather grants of arms, and an augmentation mistakenly given to someone who did not have a right to a coat would be nugatory.
The royal arms of Scotland is the official coat of arms of the King of Scots first adopted in the 12th century. With the Union of the Crowns in 1603, James VI inherited the thrones of England and Ireland and thus his arms in Scotland were now quartered with the arms of England with an additional quarter for Ireland also added. Though the kingdoms of England and Scotland would share the same monarch, the distinction in heraldry used in both kingdoms was maintained. When the kingdoms of Scotland and England were united under the Acts of Union 1707 to form the Kingdom of Great Britain, no single arms were created, thereby maintaining the convention that the royal arms used in Scotland would continue to differ from those used elsewhere.
John Philip Brook Brooke-Little was an English writer on heraldic subjects, and a long-serving herald at the College of Arms in London. In 1947, while still a student, Brooke-Little founded the Society of Heraldic Antiquaries, now known as the Heraldry Society and recognised as one of the leading learned societies in its field. He served as the society's chairman for 50 years and then as its President from 1997 until his death in 2006. In addition to the foundation of this group, Brooke-Little was involved in other heraldic groups and societies and worked for many years as an officer of arms; beginning as Bluemantle Pursuivant, Brooke-Little rose to the second highest heraldic office in England: Clarenceux King of Arms.
In modern heraldry, a royal cypher is a monogram-like device of a country's reigning sovereign, typically consisting of the initials of the monarch's name and title, sometimes interwoven and often surmounted by a crown. Such a cypher as used by an emperor or empress is called an imperial cypher. In the system used by various Commonwealth realms, the title is abbreviated as R for rex or regina. Previously, I stood for imperator or imperatrix of the Indian Empire. Royal cyphers appear on some government buildings, impressed upon royal and state documents, and are used by governmental departments.
A crown is often an emblem of a sovereign state, usually a monarchy, but also used by some republics.
The House of Plantagenet was the first truly armigerous royal dynasty of England. The arms of this noble, later royal, family, Gules, three lions passant guardant or , termed colloquially "the arms of England" signifying the "arms of the royal house of England", were first adopted by King Richard the Lionheart (1189–1199), son of King Henry II of England (1154–1189), son of Plantagenet founder, Geoffrey Plantagenet, Count of Anjou. The various cadet branches descended from this family bore differenced versions of the arms of England.
The Tender of Union was a declaration of the Parliament of England during the Interregnum following the War of the Three Kingdoms stating that Scotland would cease to have an independent parliament and would join England in its emerging Commonwealth republic.
The royal standards of England were narrow, tapering swallow-tailed heraldic flags, of considerable length, used mainly for mustering troops in battle, in pageants and at funerals, by the monarchs of England. In high favour during the Tudor period, the Royal English Standard was a flag that was of a separate design and purpose to the Royal Banner. It featured St George's Cross at its head, followed by a number of heraldic devices, a supporter, badges or crests, with a motto—but it did not bear a coat of arms. The Royal Standard changed its composition frequently from reign to reign, but retained the motto Dieu et mon droit, meaning God and my right; which was divided into two bands: Dieu et mon and Droyt.
English heraldry is the form of coats of arms and other heraldic bearings and insignia used in England. It lies within the so-called Gallo-British tradition. Coats of arms in England are regulated and granted to individuals by the English kings of arms of the College of Arms. An individual's arms may also be borne ‘by courtesy' by members of the holder's nuclear family, subject to a system of cadency marks, to differentiate those displays from the arms of the original holder. The English heraldic style is exemplified in the arms of British royalty, and is reflected in the civic arms of cities and towns, as well as the noble arms of individuals in England. Royal orders in England, such as the Order of the Garter, also maintain notable heraldic bearings.
The royal supporters of England refer to the heraldic supporter creatures appearing on each side of the royal arms of England. The royal supporters of the monarchs of England displayed a variety, or even a menagerie, of real and imaginary heraldic beasts, either side of their royal arms of sovereignty, including lion, leopard, panther and tiger, antelope and hart, greyhound, boar and bull, falcon, cock, eagle and swan, red and gold dragons, as well as the current unicorn.
Cromwell's Act of Grace, or more formally the Act of Pardon and Grace to the People of Scotland, was an Act of the Parliament of England that declared that the people of Scotland were pardoned for any crimes they might have committed during the Wars of the Three Kingdoms. It was proclaimed at the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh on 5 May 1654. General George Monck, the English military governor of Scotland, was present in Edinburgh, having arrived the day before for two proclamations also delivered at the Mercat Cross, the first declaring Oliver Cromwell to be the Protector of England, Ireland and Scotland, and that Scotland was united with the Commonwealth of England.
Arms of Dominion are the arms borne both by a monarch and the state in a monarchy.
The coat of arms of the Angevin dynasty has varied over time, but always included a lion.
In heraldry, the royal badges of England comprise the heraldic badges that were used by the monarchs of the Kingdom of England.
The coat of arms of the Prince of Wales is the official heraldic insignia of the Prince of Wales, a title traditionally granted to the heir apparent to the reigning monarch of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, formerly the Kingdom of Great Britain and before that the Kingdom of England.
A winged wheel is a symbol used historically on monuments by the Ancient Greeks and Romans and more recently as a heraldic charge. The symbol was associated with the Ancient Greek god Hermes and as a representation of the chariot of Triptolemus. In heraldry the symbol has been used to represent transport, speed and progress. A three-winged wheel was chosen as the logo of the British Cyclists' Touring Club and at one point was considered "cycling’s most famous symbol". A two-winged version formed the logo of the London General Omnibus Company and, after a merger, formed the basis of the modern London Underground roundel.