Meghan Markle Gets Her Own Coat of Arms, Breaks Royal Traditions Yet Again

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Meghan Markle has received her very own, customized royal coat of arms as traditionally done for those who marry members of the royal family.

The 36-year-old actress and Prince Harry wed on May 19 in a fairy tale-like event that captivated the world. Nearly a week later, Meghan is adjusting to life as a royal, including adapting to long-standing protocols on how she acts and dresses in public.

And this being Meghan the rule breaker, there were a couple notable departures from royal customs. Traditionally, the coat of arms is gifted to the father of the bride before the wedding -- for example, Kate Middleton's father received their family's coat of arms about a week before her wedding. However, given Thomas Markle's situation in the days leading up to the royal wedding, the coat of arms was gifted directly to the Duchess of Sussex, herself, and makes no reference to the Markle family name.

Kensington Palace announced the new design on Friday. As is common for those who marry into the royal family, the design is split in half, with Harry's coat on the left side and Meghan's on the right. There are several personal touches that reference Meghan's life before joining the royal family.

"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 word," reads a statement by Kensington Palace on the coat of arms. "Beneath the shield on the grass sits a collection of golden poppies, California's state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Kensington Palace."

The palace also explained the white bird, which accompanied Harry's symbol of the lion.

"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 statement notes.

Thomas Woodcock, the Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England, designed the coat of arms along with Meghan and said he took "great interest" in the making of it.

"Good heraldic design is nearly always simple and the Arms of The Duchess of Sussex stand well beside the historic beauty of the quartered British Royal Arms," he said in the statement. "Heraldry as a means of identification has flourished in Europe for almost nine hundred years and is associated with both individual people and great corporate bodies such as Cities, Universities and for instance the Livery Companies in the City of London."

Eventually, Meghan's coat of arms will be combined with Prince Harry's for a conjugal coat of arms. This is usually gifted to the couple some years after a royal wedding. 

For more about Meghan and Harry's marriage, watch the video below.

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