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Royal Wedding 2018: Meghan Markle coat of arms revealed

Coat of Arms Image copyright Kensington Palace

A coat of arms created for the Duchess of Sussex that reflects her Californian background has been unveiled.

It includes a shield containing the colour blue, representing the Pacific Ocean, and rays, symbolising sunshine.

The duchess worked closely with the College of Arms in London to create the design, Kensington Palace said.

The lion supporting the shield on the left is an image that dates back to early medieval times and relates to her husband, the Duke of Sussex.

The songbird supporting the shield on the right relates to the Duchess of Sussex.

Traditionally wives of members of the Royal Family have two - one of their husband's supporters on the shield and one relating to themselves.

Beneath the shield is California's state flower - the golden poppy - and Wintersweet, a flower that grows at Kensington Palace and was also depicted on the duchess' wedding veil.

The three quills illustrate the power of words and communication.

The duchess has also been assigned a coronet bearing fleurs-de-lys and strawberry leaves.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Wintersweet also featured on the Duchess of Sussex's wedding veil

Garter King of Arms Thomas Woodcock, who is based at the College of Arms said: "The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design.

"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.

"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."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Duchess of Sussex's coat of arms reflects her Californian background

In 2011 a coat of arms was designed for the family of the Duchess of Cambridge - then Kate Middleton - which featured white chevronels symbolising mountains representing the family's love of the Lake District and skiing.

As the grant was made to the Middleton family, the Duchess of Cambridge's siblings are also allowed to use the coat of arms.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's coat of arms combined the shields of Prince William and the Middleton family.

Image copyright Kensington Palace
Image caption The conjugal coat of arms for the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge

Samantha Grant, a half sister of the duchess, told the Telegraph it was "a huge insult" that their father Thomas Markle had not been given a coat of arms.

As an American, Mr Markle could apply for honorary arms - in addition to meeting the standard criteria of eligibility, however, he would also have to demonstrate his descent from a subject of the British Crown.

This could include ancestors dating back to before 1783, when Britain recognised American independence.

For any British person to have a legal right to a coat of arms it must have been granted to them or they must be descended in the male line from a person to whom arms were awarded. Organisations can also be granted a coat of arms.

Coats of arms date back to 12th Century and were traditionally worn over armour in tournaments so participants could identify their opponents.

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