Quite a few people have asked me what the newborn Prince George of Cambridge’s coat of arms will look like. The answer is: it won’t look like anything. At least not until he is 18. A coat of arms is devised for royal children when they come of age. Prince George won’t be 18 until the year 2031 by which time he may find himself in a very different position from being third in line to the throne. So, it’s a moot point until then.
The shield is emblazoned: “Sable a lion rampant Or, armed and langued Gules surmounted by a helmet with raised visor, with mantling Or and Sable and the royal crown in lieu of a crest”. Behind the shield are placed a hand of justice and a sceptre with a lion. The grand collar of the Order of Leopold surrounds the shield. Two lions guardant proper support the shield as well as a lance with the national colors black, yellow and red. Underneath the compartment is placed the motto: “L’union fait la force” in French or “Eendracht maakt macht” in Dutch. The whole is placed on a red mantle with ermine lining and golden fringes and tassels, ensigned with the royal crown. Above the mantle rise banners with the arms of the nine provinces that constituted Belgium in 1837. They are (from left to right) Antwerp, West Flanders, East Flanders, Liége, Brabant, Hainaut, Limburg, Luxembourg and Namur.
This greater arms is used only rarely as on the great seal that is affixed to laws and international treaties.
Since the province of Brabant was split into Flemish Brabant, Walloon Brabant and Brussels in 1995, the greater arms no longer reflect the present territorial divisions of the state. The changes made to the arms of the Flemish provinces as a result of this decision, are not reflected in the great seal either.
The lesser coat of arms (as used by the Belgian federal government, on passport covers and the official sites of the monarchy and of the government) consists of the shield, the royal crown, the crossed sceptres, the collar of the Order of Leopold and the motto.
There is also a middle version used on occasion as well. All three are illustrated below.
This weekend in Belgium King Albert II will officially abdicate and be succeeded by his son, the Duke of Brabant, who will become King Philippe I. There is no coronation ceremony in the Belgian monarchy. Instead, after a solemn Te Deum is sung at the cathedral there will be the formal abdication of the King. This is followed by the swearing in of the new King before the Belgian Parliament. The crown is used as a heraldic emblem by the King but an actual crown does not exist. The King rules by the consent of the people which is why there is no King “of Belgium” but instead a King “of the Belgians”. The arms above are of Philippe and his wife, Mathilde.
Bishop Browne will be ordained a bishop and installed as the Bishop of Kerry, Ireland on July 21st. The arms are not personal arms impaled with those of his diocese as one might think. Rather, they are impaled arms that both represent his personal coat of arms.
In May I posted the handsome coat of arms of the famous priest and author The Rev’d Dr. Adrian Fortescue. recently, I came across another fine emblazonment of his coat of arms of which he made extensive use.
The coat of arms of Bishop Ramón Castro Castro of Cuernavaca, Mexico who was installed on July 10th. It seems apparent that he based the overall design on the arms of Pope Benedict XVI who also employed the tripartite chape ployé. It is also interesting to see that he chose to omit the galero and use simply the episcopal cross to ensign the shield as I had just been remarking about recently.