HRH The Duke of Edinburgh

This past week it was announced from Buckingham Palace that HRH the Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh would be withdrawing from public engagements due to his advanced age. This led not a few of my friends, the the real kind and the Facebook kind, to write or comment on the Duke’s well-known coat of arms (below).

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In addition, as seems to be the case all the time now, there ensued a discussion about how the coat of arms presently used by HRH, and used by him since 1949, was not the original design.

In 1947 the arms devised for him were these:

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This coat of arms combined the coat of arms of the royal house of Greece, into which Prince Philip was born, those being Greece with an inescutcheon of the royal arms of Denmark because that family, Oldenburg-Glücksburg, was also the royal family of Greece. When the Greek monarchy was established they solicited a Danish prince to become King George I of the Hellenes rather than any Greek citizen. In addition to the Greek royal arms a small inescutcheon of the arms of Princess Alice, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was included in dexter chief.

This coat of arms was used by him at the time he married Princess Elizabeth of York and was created Duke of Edinburgh.

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However, in 1949 the College of Arms revised the design of the Duke’s coat of arms as the earlier design was deemed too busy. They came up with the design currently in use which combines quarters for Denmark, Greece, Battenberg (because his mother, Princess Alice, was also a Battenberg, a name later changed to Mountbatten which is the family name used by Prince Philip and assumed by him when he became a naturalized British citizen and renounced any claim to his Greek and Danish titles) and the arms of the city of Edinburgh for his title.

However, just for fun, because this is how heraldists have fun, I drew up a rough little sketch and cut-and-pasted it together with a black and white drawing of the Duke’s original arms to depict something of what I might have proposed for the design of the arms of HRH in 1949 when it was decided to try and simplify the achievement.

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Here I have combined quarters for Denmark (1) and Greece (4) reflecting that he was born a Prince of Greece with Danish ancestry. There is also a quarter (2) depicting what is usually on the smallest inescutcheon of the Danish royal arms, namely, the dynastic arms of Oldenburg-Glücksburg, the cadet branch of Oldenburg which succeeded to the Danish throne and the paternal family of Prince Philip. I have included a quarter for Battenberg for his maternal family. Finally, the allusion to his title of Edinburgh is placed on an inescutcheon overall. It’s not as simple as the Duke’s current arms but it is still a simplification over the arms he originally bore and it displays connections to the countries of his origin as well as the family arms of both sides of his family while including a mention of his title. It was just a bit of fun.

 

Bishop-Elect Kenneth Howell

The Rev. Kenneth Howell, 59, a priest of the Archdiocese of Brisbane has been appointed Titular Bishop of Thamugadi and Auxiliary Bishop of Brisbane by Pope Francis. He will be ordained on June 14.

His coat of arms (below), designed by me in collaboration with Mr. Richard d’Apice, AM, KCHS of the Australian Heraldry Society, employs a field borrowed from arms associated with “Howell” and also pick up on the theme of light and darkness in association with the cross of Christ. The escallop shell is a symbol of St. John the Baptist because the bishop-elect was ordained a priest on the eve of the Nativity of St. John.

The motto translates to, “Prepare the Way For Him”. The arms were rendered by Mr. Sandy Turnbull, also of the Australian Heraldry Society.

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Bishop Timothy Harris

On May 3, the Feast of Ss. Philip & James, the Most Rev. Timothy Harris (54), a priest of the Archdiocese of Brisbane, was ordained a bishop in the Church and installed as the 6th Bishop of Townsville, Australia.

His personal arms, impaled with those of the diocese, make allusions to his family name (the crescent), his baptismal patron (the plates representing stones as a symbol of St. Timothy) and Pope Francis who appointed him a bishop and whose emphasis on mercy the bishop wishes to incorporate into his own ministry (the sprig of spikenard).

His arms were designed by me in close collaboration with Mr. Richard d’Apice, AM, KCHS and rendered by Mr. Sandy Turnbull, both members of the Australian Heraldry Society.

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Bishop Gregory Homeming, OCD

On February 22, the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, the Most Rev. Gregory Homeming, of the Order of Discalced Carmelites (58) was ordained a bishop in the Church and installed as the 6th Bishop of Lismore, Australia.

His arms (below) reflect his membership in the Carmelite Order as also employ a symbol of St. Gregory the Great, a crane in its vigilance.

The bishop’s personal coat of arms were designed by me in collaboration with Mr. Richard d’Apice, AM, KCHS and rendered by Mr. Sandy Turnbull, both members of the Australian Heraldry Society.

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Auxiliaries of Milwaukee

On March 17 last The Most Rev. Jeffrey Haines and The Most Rev. James Schuerman were ordained to the episcopate to serve as Auxiliary Bishops of Milwaukee. Their newly assumed coats of arms (by Deacon Paul Sullivan) display, for a refreshing change, choices on the part of new bishops that result in clear, simple and distinctive coats of arms. Those of Bp. Schuerman appear to have been inspired by those of St. Francis de Sales but contain enough heraldic differencing to make them his own. These are both good examples of nice coats of arms.

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Bishop Haines’ Coat of Arms

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Bishop Schuerman’s Coat of Arms

Bishop Solis

On March 7 the Most Rev. Oscar A. Solis, formerly Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles, was installed as the 10th Bishop of Salt Lake City, Utah. The first Filipino-American to head a diocese is now the shepherd of a diocese covering the entire state of Utah, famous for being “Mormon country”. His handsome coat of arms which refers to both the Filipino flag and to his surname, Solis, meaning “of the sun”, is now in place over the cathedra in the very beautiful cathedral of the Madeleine. This has the distinction of being one of the loveliest cathedrals in the United States.

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Cathedral Dean

Here is the coat of arms of the Very Rev. Fr. Donald Richardson, BTh, STB, MA, KCHS who is presently the Dean of the Cathedral and Basilican Church of the Immaculate Mother of God, Help of Christians  more commonly known as St. Mary’s Cathedral in Sydney, Australia. He has long been armigerous being a heraldry enthusiast himself and the cathedral church has made use of a corporate coat of arms different from that of the Archdiocese for a long time. When he was appointed Dean I told him I would prepare a nice emblazonment with his own arms impaled with the cathedral arms.

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Because his personal arms are so similar to the arms of the cathedral I chose to use a line of separation in a color other than black since black wouldn’t provide a clear enough separation. There’s nothing wrong with this. many other artists and authors have advocated it as well. (See: Carl Alexander Vov Volborth’s works, Heraldry: Customs, Rules and Styles and The Art of Heraldry)

In addition, while Fr. Richardson does not possess a Roman Honor his arms are ensigned with the galero used for what is collectively known as “Minor Officials” which would include cathedral deans and/or rectors, rectors of shrine churches or seminaries, basilica rectors, Vicars Forane, Religious Superiors, etc. This galero has two tassels pendant on either side of the shield and they may be shown hanging one below the other or, as here, side by side from a median knot. Father will bear these arms “pro hac vice”, that is to say, during his tenure as Dean of the Cathedral only.

The cross of Jerusalem is included in the achievement to note that he is a Knight Commander in the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre. The motto means, “Lord, It Is Good For Us to Be Here” (Matt. 17:4)