The Official Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
|On the left, the shield is supported by the English Lion.
||On the right it is supported by the Unicorn of Scotland.
(The unicorn is chained because in mediaeval times a free unicorn was considered a very dangerous beast (only a virgin could tame a unicorn)
The coat features both the motto of British Monarchs:
(God and my right)
and the motto of the Order of the Garter:
('Evil to him who evil thinks')
on a representation of the Garter behind the shield.
Royal Coat of Arms
The Royal Arms we see today have evolved over nine centuries, since Richard the Lionheart chose three lions to represent England. This symbol on the King's shield would immediately identify him in the midst of battle.
The full version of the Royal Coat of Arms is now used only by the Queen in her capacity as the Sovereign. In the version used by the government and consequently as the official coat of arms of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, the crown is shown resting directly on the shield, with the helm, crest and mantling not displayed (like in the black and white photo above).
Above is a coloured photograph of the Royal Coat of Arms. (Please note that the unicorn horn is missing. It may have fallen off.) The Royal Coat of arms was on display above a canopy sheltering the Queen during a special ceremony at Whitehall
The main element of the Arms is the shield which is divided into four quarters.
Shield of the Royal Arms
The first and fourth quadrants represent England and contain three gold lions passant (in plain English, three gold lions with their right forepaws
raised and their heads facing the viewer) on a red field; the second quadrant represents Scotland contains a redlion rampant on a gold field; the third quadrant represents Ireland and contains the gold harp of Ireland on a blue field.
Why is Wales not represented on the shield and Coat of Arms?
Wales was recognised as a Principality by the creation of the Prince of Wales long before the incorporation of the quarterings for Scotland and Ireland in the Royal Arms. The arms of the Prince of Wales show the arms of the ancient Principality in the centre as well as these quarterings.
Find out about the Royal Standard
- A symbol of England
Richard the Lionheart (1189 - 1199) used the three golden lions (sometimes described as leopards) on their scarlet background as a powerful symbol of the English Throne during the time of the Crusades.
What is the motto of England?
The motto of England and the Sovereign is
(French for God and my right).
The motto was first used by King Richard I in 1198 and adopted as the royal motto of England in the time of Henry VI.
The motto appears below the sheild of the Royal Coat of Arms.