Hooray, it’s royal wedding time! The British royal family has announced that Prince Harry, second son of the Prince of Wales and younger brother to the Duke of Cambridge, is engaged to American actress Meghan Markle. The wedding will take place in spring 2018.
Genealogist Charles Kidd, the editor of Debrett’s Peerage & Baronetage, thinks the new couple will be styled the Duke and Duchess of Sussex.
A Conjugal Coat of Arms
Another royal tradition we may see played out is the granting of a conjugal coat of arms.
The Queen granted the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William and the former Kate Middleton, a conjugal coat of arms after their 2011 marriage.
The joint coat of arms combines the individual heraldic displays of William and Kate.
Kate didn’t have a coat of arms until her father was granted arms before her wedding. He had the arms designed with acorn sprigs, one for each of the Middleton children, to represent strength and the family’s home in Berkshire. They include a gold chevron in honor of her mother’s maiden name, Goldsmith, and two white chevrons to represent the mountains and the family’s love of skiing.
The arms were granted to Kate’s father and his descendants. Kate’s brother James will pass the right on to his own descendants. Kate’s version was originally suspended from a ribbon, indicating an unmarried daughter.
Then when she married, she was granted another version, consisting of her husband’s arms “impaled” with her father’s.
By Sodacan. This vector image was created with Inkscape. – Own work, Based on: BBC News and Official website, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=14960090
William’s coat of arms, which the Queen granted to him on his 18th birthday, are derived from those of the royal family and of his mother, Diana Spencer. The coronet, or crown, signifies royalty, and the three-pointed collar, or label, shows he’s heir to the throne. The label’s middle point has a scallop seashell, an element from Diana’s arms.
The shield features royal emblems from parts of the United Kingdom: the three lions of England, the lion of Scotland, and the harp of Ireland. It’s supported by a lion and a unicorn.
Prince Harry’s arms, granted on his 18th birthday in 2002, are similar to his brother’s, but with a five-pointed label.
Meghan Markle isn’t armigerous that we know of, but her German ancestors supposedly had a coat of arms. Perhaps she’ll receive arms derived from theirs. (Interestingly, the couple also are 15th cousins, according to the Daily mail.) You can test your knowledge about the royal family tree with our quiz.