The internet was left stumped after Meghan Markle's new coat of arms was released last week, with many quick to point out that the songbird's crown is around its neck and not on its head. Some took to Twitter to share their concern, noting that the bird looked "distressed" and as if it was being "strangled" by its headpiece. But the explanation is simple. There is nothing sinister or negative about the design, which was approved by the Queen beforehand.
When a person marries into the royal family, the crown on their animal is drawn on their neck, while those who are born royal have a crown depicted on the animal's head. Hence, why Meghan's songbird wears a crown around its neck; the bird also has an open mouth, to represent the importance of communication.
Meghan's songbird wears a crown around its neck
When the Duchess of Cambridge married Prince William, Kate was represented in the couple's conjugal coat of arms by a unicorn wearing a crown around its neck. And when Princess Diana wed Prince Charles, her animal, a griffin, was also depicted with a crown around its neck. Princes William and Harry's coat of arms, meanwhile, which they were granted on their 18th birthdays, show lions wearing the crown on their head.
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Meghan's coat of arms was unveiled on Friday, designed and approved by Her Majesty and Mr. Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England, who is based at the College of Arms in London. Meghan, 36, worked closely with the College of Arms throughout the creative process.
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The Duchess of Sussex's design is steeped with personal touches. The blue background of the shield represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coast – Meghan was born in Los Angeles – while the two golden rays across the shield are symbolic of the sunshine of her home state. The three quills on her shield represent communication and the power of words. Beneath the shield on the grass sits a collection of golden poppies, California's state flower, and wintersweet, which grows at Harry and Meghan's London home, Kensington Palace.