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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Coat-of-Arms of the Middletons

In my previous post, I mentioned the significance of having this heraldic insignia for all members of British aristocrats, and anyone who is marrying into the royal family is required to have one. For aristocrats, this is not a problem as most of them already have an established insignia for several centuries, but not if you are a commoner.

Normally, Coat-of-Arms represent family history and background and often create an identity for a person. Because Miss Middleton is marrying a British royal, she should have her own heraldic identity, thus, an intense need for her father to apply, she cannot directly apply for it because it is only granted to the head of the family.
Coat-of-Arms of Catherine Middleton derived from his father's recently approved Arms granted by the College of Arms in London

Since her family comes from a middle class background, it is believed her father doesn't have one. In order for her to be granted an Arms prior to the royal wedding, her father, Michael Middleton must apply in the College of Arms for this and must undergo the formal process of the application by submitting a formal request to the Duke of Norfolk, who is the Earl Marshal of England, for the issuance of warrant to the King's of Arms.

In the previous months since I wrote that post, it was reported that maybe Miss Middleton might have her Coat-of-Arms granted after the wedding since it takes several months for the application to be approved, but surprisingly, well maybe because she is marrying a future King, her father's application was granted one week before the wedding!

Upon the approval of the Middleton's Arms, all members of her family can used it, that means the status of her parents and two siblings can now be elevated to the pedestal of the social class system in Great Britain, wow! hardly social-climbing. It feels like the Middleton rises from the ashes of no where to the highest position on earth.

Traditionally, the Coat-of-Arms reflect the family's heraldic background and family heritage especially among aristocrats, but because Mr. Michael Middleton is neither, his Coat-of-Arms represent family enjoyment, pursuit and just whatever they could find in their backyard, so it is composed of three acorns representing his three children.

Acorns are selected because the area where they raised in Berkshire is surrounded by oak trees, the gold chevron in the center of the design represents Kate's mother, Carol, no not a gold digger but because her maiden name is Goldsmith, the two smaller chevron which can be seen around the gold chevron represent hills and mountains which reflect their passion for outdoor activities, the Blue and Red colors have no meaning at all to the family except that these are the primary colors of the flag of the United Kingdom.

After the granting of the Coat-of-Arms to Mr. Michael Middleton, all members of her family can now officially used it, thus, allowing Catherine to have her own Arms. Hers was presented in the form of Lozenge with ribbons indicating that she is an unmarried daughter of the holder of Arms.

Now finally she has her own heraldic identity to enjoy. But after the wedding, she should redesigned her Coat-of-Arms by integrating it with the Arms of Prince William, this is called impaled Coat-of-Arms and required a Royal Warrant from the Queen to be considered official.

In British system, any honors acquired by the father can be passed to his son, so this Coat-of-Arms thing will be inherited by his only son, James Middleton and to his descendants. Now, suddenly the Middletons' status have significant position in the social class system of Britain.

Source of information on the description of Catherine's Arms: Official wedding site of Prince William and Catherine Middleton as authorized by Buckingham Palace

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