How Meghan Markle's Coat of Arms Breaks Royal Tradition

Meghan Markle's royal Coat of Arms is another example of how she keeps breaking royal traditions.

The newly crowned Duchess of Sussex's Coat of Arms was revealed on Friday, and its design is unique for two particular reasons.

One of the unique qualities of Markle's Coat of Armsis the fact that is does not feature her last name or the maiden name of her mother. The names are typically included on the symbol, such as on Kate Middleton's Coat of Arms.

This lack of Markle family representation feeds into the second unique quality fo the crest, and that is the fact that it is even hers to begin with.

It is customary for the father of the bride to be issued a Coat of Arms for his family. However, her father, Thomas Markle, has yet to be formally welcomed into the royal family.

The Suits actress and her father have had a rocky past, culminating in a series of scandals leading up to her marriage to Prince Harry. He was caught posing for paparazzi photos, which rubbed many royal onlookers the wrong way.

He went back-and-forth for several days about if he would walk his daughter down the aisle. However, he had to have emergency heart surgery days before the ceremony which grounded him in the U.S.

Some of these issues could have been avoided if the British royal family would have invited Thomas to the palace weeks ahead of the wedding and kept him there, catering to whatever royal formality training he now needs.

All theses factors presumably feed into the fact that Markle was given the crest herself, as opposed to Thomas receiving one.


The Coat of Arms was designed by Markle and Thomas Woodcock, the Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England. It features a blue background representative of the Pacific Ocean, two golden rays to symbolize California sunshine and three quills to represent communication and the power of words. It also features golden poppies (California's state flower) and wintersweet, which is grown at Kensington Palace.

"The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design," Woodcock said. "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."