The coat of arms of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
The coat of arms of Meghan, Duchess of Sussex Kensington Palace

The Duchess of Sussex now has her own coat of arms. Meghan Markle, whose wedding to Prince Harry last week was watched by around 2 billion people worldwide, chose a songbird as her supporter and none to represent her family.

Kensington Palace has revealed the duchess’ new coat of arms, which includes symbols of her background and her native state of California. The design was agreed and approved by Queen Elizabeth. Meghan herself worked closely with the College of Arms, which acts on behalf of the Crown, to create the design.

Meghan, who was born in California, made sure her birthplace is incorporated in her coat of arms. The blue background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast, while the golden rays across the shield symbolise the sunshine of the state. The golden poppies beneath the shield on the grass represent the state’s flower, while the wintersweet on the grass grows at Kensington Palace.

The duchess’ Supporter, or figure placed on either side of the shield, is a songbird with wings elevated, as if it’s flying, and with an open beak, which, together with the three quills on the shield, represents the power of communications.

The coronet assigned to her is laid down by a Royal Warrant of 1917 for the children of the Heir Apparent. Hers is composed of two crosses pat é e, four fleurs-de-lys and two strawberry leaves.

Her coat of arms is “impaled” with Harry’s as they are married. Impaled means their coat of arms are placed side by side in the same shield.

“The Duchess 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,” Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms, said. “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.”

No family reference on Meghan’s coat of arms

When Michael Middleton, the father of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, (more commonly known as Kate Middleton) was granted a coat of arms for the family before her marriage to Prince William in 2011, the whole family helped in creating their insignia. They included symbols of the three Middleton children — Kate, Pippa and James — and a gold chevron, which represents their mum Carol Middleton’s maiden name of Goldsmith.

Kate Middleton's family coat of arms
The new Coat of Arms for Kate Middleton's family is displayed at the College of Arms in London April 18, 2011. Reuters/Suzanne Plunkett

Meghan’s coat of arms is her own, though, and not of her family. Her father was not granted a family insignia because, according to a report, it would be “too complicated.” If Thomas Markle Sr was honoured with a coat of arms, his children would be able to use it, too. His children, Meghan’s half-siblings, have not necessarily been her champions since her engagement to Harry was announced last year.

And with Meghan getting her own insignia, it is apparent that she left out symbols that may represent her family. Kensington Palace has not commented why Thomas Sr did not receive a coat of arms.