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Coat-of-Arms

The royal protocol of the British monarchy is as complicated as memorizing the truces of The Hundred Years of War.

Now here's another one.

Traditionally, any woman marrying into the British royal family should apply for her own coat of arms. If she is of noble or royal birth, choosing and applying for coat of arms is not a problem, but if she is a commoner, it might create some complication.

By definition, Coat of Arms refers to the full heraldic achievement which consists of a shield and certain accessories. In either sense, the design is a symbol unique to a person, family, corporation, or state. Such displays are also commonly called armorial bearings, armorial devices, heraldic devices, or arms (Encyclopedia Brittanica)
 Official Coat-of-Arms of the British Monarch with a motto: "God and my right"

All members of the British royalty and nobility have their own family’s coat of arms which can also be used by their descendants. The late Princess of Wales was born Lady Diana Spencer, a daughter of a distinguished British nobleman, the 8th Earl Spencer, so designing her own Coat of Arms was not a huge problem, in fact it was granted to her before the royal wedding in 1981. The Spencer family already had an existing Coat of Arms since the middle ages. Prince William designed his Coat-of-Arms using the shells of the Spencers in memory of his mother, it was granted to him on his 18th birthday.

Coat-of-Arms of the Spencer family
Coat-of-Arms of the late Princess of Wales, Diana. She used the Coat-of-Arms of Prince Charles impaled with her father's Coat-of-Arms. Diana created her special motto: "God defends the right"
 Prince William's Coat-of-Arms

According to Daily Mail, Kate Middleton has yet to apply for her own Coat of Arms. Because she comes from a middle class background, naturally her family doesn’t have one.

So what will happen to Miss Middleton’s insignia? According to Daily mail, in order for her to be granted, her father, Michael Middleton, must have to apply for a memorial with the College of Arms in Britain and must wait for several months before the application will be approved, he must get a warrant also from the Earl Marshal, meaning the current Duke of Norfolk, indicating that he agrees on the granting of the arms. Arms and crests are granted by letters patent. But because Miss Middleton is marrying a royal Prince, the application might be arranged in two weeks processing according to an officer at the College of Arms.

In Britain, nobility and royalty used Coat of Arms often than other people. Among the daughters-in-law of Queen Elizabeth II, only Princess Diana had her Coat of Arms granted prior to the wedding. Sophie rhys-Jones, the wife of Charles's youngest brother, Prince Edward the Earl of Wessex, had her coat-of-arms granted few months after the wedding and so with Sarah Ferguson, the ex-wife of Charles's younger brother, Prince Andrew the Duke of York.

But unlike Miss Middleton who lacks an  aristocratic background totally from both sides of her parents and no traces of nobility in her blood, Sarah and Sophie are of noble background. They are both 8th generation of the Duke of Beauccleaugh, one of the illegitimate sons of King Charles II. Diana's direct ancestors, the Duke of Grafton and the Duke of Richmond were also sons of King Charles II from other mistresses. In the case of Sarah and Sophie, the tasks of designing their own coat of arms were a bit easier, they only redesigned the 200-year-old coat of arms of their ancestors. But not Kate Middleton.

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