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Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland also as offered by HM Queen Elizabeth II from 1953 to the existing (as provided in all Her realms other than Scotland). Credit: UK Government / Public domain

“Dieu et mon droit,” or “God and also my right,” are the words featured on the Royal Coat of Arms of the United Kingdom (minus Scotland). They are typically found throughout London engraved on old buildings, or even on the British passport. But it’s in French that those words under the lion and the unicorn are written. Why?

To completely understand also, we need to go back a number of centuries. Between the 11th and also 1fifth centuries, the English elite spoke French, or more specifically Norman, as historian Kevin Guillot explains. Certainly, William the Conqueror, who in French is Guillaume le Conquérant, Fight It Out of Normandy, won the English crown in 1066 after a victory at the famed fight of Hastings. And ultimately, the Anglo-Saxon elite gradually enmemelted themselves within the aristocracy thus offering climb to the Normale language.

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A few centuries later on, the Normale kings continued to preeminence one after the other and also the regime of Henry V arrived. The sovereign, fairly conservative, wanted to keep Norguy as his language at court. Hence, he made a decision the motto “Dieu et mon droit” for the Kingdom of England also. This expression came from Richard the Lionheart (Ricdifficult Cœur de Lion, in French), monarch of the country in between 1189 and 1199. Throughout the battle of Gisord in 1198 against Philippe Auguste, King of France, Richard the Lionheart shelp “God and also my right” to show that he owed his crown to just God and also himself.

Due to the fact that then, the expression has actually endured the test of time and come to be the motto of the British monarchy. It continues to generate discussion: in 2016 a petition was released to rerelocate the French words from the British passport, without success.


When you look even even more very closely at the British coat of arms, you have the right to check out the expression “Honi soit qui mal y pense” which is linked in between the lion and the unicorn. This is the motto of the Order of the Garter (l’ordre de la jarretière, in French), the highest possible order of knighthood in Britain. Dating ago to the 1fourth century, it was Edward III, King of England and also Duke of Aquitaine, who included it to the Royal Arms and also the anecdote of its creation (which has actually never really been verified) is a great story.

Edward III was recognized to be a greedy man: in enhancement to the English crown, he dreamed of the French one. But this was difficult bereason at the moment the royal power on the French side was only transmitted by the father… other than that it was the mommy of France’s king that was French. Angry, Edward III began the well known Hundred Years’ War against Philip IV, King of France.

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During the fighting, Edward III gained his hands on Calais and also determined to clear up tbelow for a while. He organized a round there in 1348 and also invited all kinds of beautiful, classy people, including his mistress, the Countess of Salisbury, to attfinish. Throughout the party the Countess accidentally dropped her garter in the middle of the dance floor, and also laughter damaged out. She was conserved from this embarrassing moment by her lover, Edward III, who picked up the cloth and also put it about his very own knee, saying: “Shame be to him who thinks evil of it. Those that laugh now will certainly be very honored to wear such a ribbon bereason it will be so honorable that the mockers themselves will eagerly look for it” (Honi soit qui mal y pense. Ceux qui rient maintenant seront très honorés d’en porter une semblable car ce ruban sera mis en tel honneur que les railleurs eux-mêmes le chercheront avec empressement). A pretty poetic pirouette, which permitted the young woman to preserve her dignity and also Edward III come up through a very pretty name to baptize his order of knighthood with: the Order of the Garter (l’ordre de la jarretière).