The Middleton Coat of Arms
At 8.00am on Friday 29th April 2011, the day of the royal wedding, Buckingham Palace released a statement to say that The Queen had created her grandson, Prince William of Wales, Duke of Cambridge.
The correct forms of address for William and Kate are now His Royal Highness The Duke of Cambridge, and Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cambridge. Like all dukedoms (both royal and non-royal) the title also has lesser (or subsidiary) titles, in this case Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus, but in all official publications, including the Court Circular, they will simply be known as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.
In conferring a dukedom upon her grandson, The Queen was conforming to a long-observed royal tradition. The Queen created her second son, Prince Andrew, Duke of York on his wedding day in 1986, and also created her youngest son, Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex upon his wedding day in 1999. Upon the death of the present Duke of Edinburgh the dukedom will descend to the Prince of Wales - and upon the Prince of Wales's succession to The Throne Prince Edward will be created Duke of Edinburgh).
The College of Arms, situated in Queen Victoria Street, near St Paul's Cathedral, is part of The Queen's Household and is under the authority of the Earl Marshal (one of the Great Officers of State).
Applications for a Coat of Arms are first submitted to the Earl Marshal (the Duke of Norfolk), who authorises every new grant of arms by issuing a warrant to one or more of the three senior heralds: Garter King of Arms, Clarenceux King of Arms, and Norroy and Ulster King of Arms. One of the Kings of Arms or one of the other heralds is then responsible for the actual design of the Coat of Arms.
It is usual for the wife of a Royal Prince to have her own arms, and it is therefore no surprise that Catherine Middleton's father, Michael Middleton, wished to apply for a grant for his family. The design released by the College of Arms was approved and agreed by Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms, in consultation with the Middleton family.
Catherine Middleton's Coat of Arms is presented on a 'lozenge' rather than on a shield, in deference to the female sex not generally being of a warlike disposition. In layman's terms the lozenge is divided vertically with one half blue and the other half red, crossed by a gold chevron (an inverted 'V' shape), with white lines on either side of the chevron, and three representations of a gold acorn on a leaved sprig, two above the chevron and one below.
The technical heraldic description (known as a blazon) is: Per pale azure and gules a chevron or cotised argent between three acorns slipped and leaved or.
After her marriage, Catherine Middleton placed her father's arms beside those of Prince William in what is known as an impaled Coat of Arms. This required a Royal Warrant from The Queen.