The Evolution of the Royal Arms of England and France
Heraldry for the Kings and Queens of England
Please note: These are samples of the shields only, not the entire, elaborate insignia associated with many of these monarchs). There is some dispute among historians about the arms of William the Conquerer, William II, and Henry I -- reportedly "Gules two lions passant guardant," as well as that of Stephen -- reportedly "Gules a sagittary or." Due to the dispute, we have not pictured them here.
The first proven arms for an English monarch. Gules a lion rampant or, later changed during his reign to three lions (see Richard I).
Richard I (Richard the Lionhearted)
In 1198, his great seal bore a single rampant lion, but his shield was "Gules three lions passant guardant," the three lions reportedly representing England, Normandy, and Aquitaine. Same arms continued for John, Henry III, Edward I, and Edward II.
In 1340, Edward quartered the ancient arms of France, "Azure semy of fleurs-de-lis or," as part of his claim to the French throne through his mother. Same arms continued for Richard II.
In 1406, Henry IV's second great seal showed that the French quartering had been changed to the modern arms, "Azure three fleurs-de-lis or." Same arms continued for Henry V, Henry VI, Edward IV, Edward V, Richard III, Henry VII, Henry VIII, Edward VI, Mary I, and Elizabeth. (Note: Circa 1550, during Mary's reign, the arms of England were sometimes impaled with the arms of King Philip II of Spain, her husband.)
In 1603, the arms of England and France were placed in the first and fourth quarters, the arms of Scotland ("Or a lion rampant within a double tressure flory counterflory gules") were placed in the second quarter, and the arms of Ireland ("Azure a harp or stringed argent") were placed in the third quarter. (Note: the Irish arms were added only at this time even though the Kings of England had been the Kings of Ireland since 1541.) These arms remained the same for Charles I, Charles II, and James II.
William III and Mary II
From 1689-1702, an escutcheon of Nassau was added. ("Azure billetty and a lion rampant or.")
In 1707, the arms of England and Scotland were moved to the first and fourth quarters, the arms of France in the second, and the arms of Ireland in the third.
In 1714, the fourth quarter was changed to three sections tierced per pale and per chevron for Hanover: (1) Gules two lions passant guardant or; (2) Or semy of hearts gules a lion rampant azure; and (3) Gules a horse courant argent. Overall, an escutcheon of pretence gulescharged with the Crown of Charlemagne.) Same arms for George II.
In 1801, when George III renounced his title as King of France under the Treaty of Paris, the French quartering was removed. The arms of England then occupied the first and fourth quarters, the arms of Scotland the second, and the arms of Ireland the third. For Hanover, there was an escutcheon overall surmounted by the electoral bonnet, which was replaced in 1816 by a Royal Crown (when Hanover became a Kingdom).
Victoria and all subsequent monarchs (to date)
In 1837, the Hanoverian escutcheon and crown were removed because Queen Victoria, as a woman, was unable to succeed to the throne of Hanover under Hanoverian law. The arms have remained unchanged since then.
Heraldry for the Kings of France
This is a simple depiction of the general arms for the Kings of France. It does not include all the various arms each monarch held at one time or another due to marriage or station. For more information, you may wish to visit the "Heraldica" web site.
The Capets (c. 1108--1322)
"Azure semy of fleurs-de-lis or." (Louis VI, Louis VII, Philippe II, Louis VIII, Philippe III, Philippe IV, Louis X, Philippe V, and Charles IV)
The Valois (c. 1328--1574) and the Bourbons (c. 1589 -- 1830)
The Valois: (Philippe VI, Jean II, Charles V, Charles VI, Charles VII, Louis XI, Charles VIII, Louis XII, Francois I, Henri II, Francois II, Charles IX, and Henri III); and the Bourbons: (Henri IV, Louis VIII, Louis XIV, Louis V, Louis XVI, Louis XVIII, and Louis-Philippe) - "Azure three fleurs-de-lis or."
What is Hatching?
"Hatching" is the term for representing the colors of a coat of arms in black and white. This was necessary when color printing was excessively expensive.