Belgian Royal Heraldry

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.

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One thought on “Belgian Royal Heraldry

  1. Jonathan Webster

    What’s also interesting about the heraldry of the Belgian Royal family is that they use marks of cadency (in particular, labels and bordures) to difference their Arms from those of the King (for example, the sons of King Philippe all bear a Label Or of three points to difference their Arms from those of their father.

    Reply

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