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The National Royal Symbols. Titles and Honours / Государственная королевская символика. Титулы и Награды

The National Royal Symbols

The main National Royal symbol is the Royal Coat of Arms, which identifies the person who is the Head of State.

The royal Coat of Arms reflects the history of the Monarchy and of the country, because it comprises the various Royal emblems of different parts of the United Kingdom. In the centre of the emblem a heraldic shield is situated. It is divided into four parts: three gold leopards or lions on a red ground is the English The British Royal Coat of Anns emblem (left upper part & right lower part), a red lion on a gold ground is the Scottish emblem (right upper part), yellow harp on a blue ground is the Irish emblem (left lower part).

The shield is supported by two Royal Beasts — the Lion with the crown on the left and the Unicorn on the right. The Lion represents pride, bravery, valour. It is also a symbol of power and royalty. The unicorn is a mythical animal. It has appeared at the British and the Scottish coats of arms and is the symbol of purity. They are surmounted by the Royal crown.

King James VI of Scotland brought one of the unicorns and changed the red draqon which earlier represented Wales on the coat of arms.

Around the shield there is a garter with the motto of the Royal family "Honi soit qui mal у pense" (French for "Evil to him who evil thinks"), which symbolises the Order of the Garter, an ancient order of chivalry of which the Queen is Sovereign.

The idea of chivalry was introduced to the court during Edward Hi's reign. Once a lady at court dropped her garter. King Edward picked it up and put the garter on his leg. The King told the people, who were laughing at her in French "Honi soit qui mal у pense" which meant "Let him be ashamed who sees wrong in it". He founded the Order of the Garter in 1348 and chose 24 knights to be the members of the order.

Below the shield there is the motto of the Monarch which is also in French "Dieu et mon droit" ("God and my right"). Henry VI began to use it as the motto of the British monarch in the 15th century.

Why French motto in an English-speaking country?

The explanation is pure history. A French motto was chosen rather than English because French was the language of the ruling classes. Henry VI spoke French and had been crowned the King of France as well as of England.

The plant symbols of the United Kingdom — the rose, the thistle and the shamrock — are often displayed beneath the shield.

The system of titles and honours of the UK includes several grades. The highest honour is peerage which is historically hereditary, and since 1959 life peerage is given. The five grades of nobility are Duke / Duchess (addressed to as Your Grace), Marquis / Marchioness (addressed to as My Lord / My Lady), Earl / Countess (addressed to as My Lord / My Lady), Viscount / Viscountess, Baron / Baroness.


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 Перейти к оглавлению книги Страноведческий справочник. Топики (темы) о Великобритании на английском языке