Meghan Markle, now the Duchess of Sussex, gets coat of arms that honors past, future approved by the queen

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Friday, May 25, 2018
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LONDON -- The coat of arms of the Duchess of Sussex has been released, and it includes a tribute to her home state of California, a nod to her way with words and a reference to her new status as a member of the royal family.

The design, which was approved by Queen Elizabeth II and Mr. Thomas Woodcock (Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England), was shared by the royal family on Friday.

Meghan, Duchess of Sussex (formerly Meghan Markle) worked with the College of Arms to create a design that was "both personal and representative," according to the palace.

As a nod to the Golden State, the shield has a blue background meant to represent the Pacific Ocean, as well as two golden rays symbolic of the sunshine.

The golden poppies on the grass under the shield are also meant as a nod to California. Interspersed with the poppies are wintersweet, which grows at the duchess' new home of Kensington Palace.

The duchess' communication skills are also a theme of the design. On the shield are three quills. The songbird on the right has its mouth open and wings spread as if in flight. Taken together, these are meant to represent the power of the written word.

The figures holding the shield up are known as Supporters. The songbird is Meghan's Supporter. The Supporter on the left, the lion, is also one of Prince Harry's Supporters on his coat of arms. It is customary for wives of the royal family to have one Supporter representing themselves and one Supporter that is the same as one of their husband's.

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This official wedding photo shows the bridesmaids, including Princess Charlotte, bottom second from left, and the page boys, including Prince George, to the bride's right.
Alexi Lubomirski/Kensington Palace via AP

"The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design," Woodcock said. "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."