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The powerful meaning behind Meghan Markle’s new coat of arms

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Kayleigh Dray
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The Duchess of Sussex’s heraldry has been unveiled – and it’s royally, royally good.

Almost a week after her star-studded wedding to Prince Harry on Saturday (20 May), Meghan Markle – aka the newly-appointed Duchess of Sussex – has been granted her very own coat of arms.

Sharing the design on the official Kensington Palace Twitter account, a spokesperson for the duchess explained that Her Royal Highness had worked closely with the College of Arms throughout the design process to create a Coat of Arms that was both “personal and representative”.

Mr. Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms, 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.”

Check it out:

Wondering what that cross-looking lion and pigeon actually represent? Thankfully, Kensington Palace have broken down the symbolism for us all.

“The blue background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast,” reads the description on the palace’s website, “while the two golden rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine of The Duchess’s home state.

“Beneath the shield on the grass sits a collection of golden poppies, California’s state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace.”

Our favourite element, though, is the white-feathered “songbird” (so, not a pigeon then?) which has been included on the insignia.

With “wings elevated as if flying and an open beak”, it conjures up images of freedom, peace and love. And the quills resting underneath that songbird’s foot, meanwhile, represent the “power of communication” – a decision which feels all the more apt when you consider the fact that Meghan has been given the blessing of the palace to use her position to fight the good feminist fight.

“I am proud to be a woman and a feminist,” the former UN ambassador declares boldly on her official royal bio

Amen.

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Kayleigh Dray

Kayleigh Dray is editor of Stylist.co.uk, where she chases after rogue apostrophes and specialises in films, comic books, feminism and television. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends. 

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