Ever since Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Duke and Duchess of Sussex, got engaged, there's been no shortage of Meghan and her Prince rocking the boat when it comes to breaking longstanding royal traditions. From the start, Prince Harry broke from royal tradition just by falling in love with an American who's mixed race (*gasp*), but even their wedding ceremony broke from tradition over and over again. Meghan wasn't escorted down the aisle by her father, and Prince Harry is wearing a wedding ring (unlike Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, who does not), and the list goes on and on. And if you thought the royal couple tying the knot would bring an end to their rule-breaking streak, you were mistaken. Meghan Markle's coat of arms has been gifted to the newly minted duchess, and it breaks from royal tradition in a major way.
According to People, the Coat of Arms is traditionally presented to the father of the bride and her family just ahead of the royal wedding like Kate Middleton, Duchess of Cambridge, did a week before she married Prince William, Duke of Cambridge.
Since I'm writing this now, six days after Harry and Meghan tied the knot, that clearly did not happen in Meghan's case. Instead, the Coat of Arms was presented to Meghan herself after the wedding. Perhaps it's because of all the drama that went down with Meghan's father, Thomas Markle, before the wedding. But whatever the reason, it seems pretty fitting for Meghan to be presented her own Coat of Arms.
Here's what it looks like:
For those who aren't familiar with all things royal, everyone who marries into the royal family gets a coat of arms. “Every Coat of Arms has been designed to identify a person, school or organization, and is to last forever,” Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms at the College of Arms, told People about the coat of arms creation process. “Heraldry is Europe’s oldest, most visual and strictly regulated form of identity and it surrounds us in Britain, giving clues to our history and surroundings.”
According to Kensington Palace's official website, the design of Meghan's Coat of Arms was agreed on and approved by the Queen herself, and the Duchess "worked closely with the College of Arms throughout the design process to create a Coat of Arms that was both personal and representative."
Every single aspect of the design seems to have symbolism engrained in it, from the colors in the background to the flowers on the ground. Kensington Palace explained:
The blue background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast, while the two golden rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine of The Duchess's home state. The three quills represent communication and the power of words. Beneath the shield on the grass sits a collection of golden poppies, California's state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace. 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 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.
The quill represents the power of communication? Ummm, Meghan has always been all about communication and enacting change. Could this design be any more perfect? The answer is YES, because the Palace continues, writing:
A Coronet has also been assigned to The Duchess of Sussex. It is the Coronet laid down by a Royal Warrant of 1917 for the sons and daughters of the Heir Apparent. It is composed of two crosses patée, four fleurs-de-lys and two strawberry leaves. The arms of a married woman are shown with those of her husband and the technical term is that they are impaled, meaning placed side by side in the same shield.
It all sounds so regal and romantic. And just wait until you learn what Meghan having a coat of arms means!
According to People, now that Meghan has received her coat of arms, she and Prince Harry can get their own “conjugal coat of arms,” a coat of arms that's basically a hybrid of her and Prince Harry's individual coat of arms. It'll likely be officially unveiled in a couple years. William and Kate’s made its debut in September 2013, just over two years after their April 2011 wedding.