Newest British royal Meghan Markle’s customized coat of arms breaks tradition

One of the perks of joining the royal family is getting your own regalia. So the Duchess of Sussex is getting hers.

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Meghan Markle, the new Duchess of Sussex, has officially received her very own customized coat of arms. Days after the royal wedding, Kensington Palace announced in a statement Friday that Britain’s Queen Elizabeth approved the design to ensure that it was “both personal and representative.”

In royal tradition, Meghan’s father, Thomas Markle, was originally set to receive the special gift ahead of his daughter’s royal wedding to Prince Harry. However, the palace decided to break tradition and directly bestow Meghan with the crest after her father underwent heart surgery last Wednesday and missed the big day.

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The statement added that Meghan worked closely with the College of Arms to create a design that incorporated her California roots, as well as her new life as a Duchess.

The shield’s blue background references the Pacific Ocean, while the two golden rays and golden poppies symbolize California’s sun and state flower. Wintersweet is also featured on the crest since it grows at Kensington Palace. The three quills represent “communication and the power of words,” which is believed to be a nod to Meghan’s outspoken activism and former lifestyle blog, The Tigreports People.

“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 palace said in a statement Friday. “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.”

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In another break with royal tradition, the crest does not represent Meghan’s family. Kate Middleton’s coat of arms reflected her family’s name, along with her mother’s maiden name.

“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,” Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms, said in the statement. “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.”

Harry and Meghan’s “conjugal coat of arms” is expected to be unveiled in a couple years, according to People.

Tell us your thoughts on the design in the comments below.

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