By Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 16 April 2024, His Majesty The King has been pleased to appoint James van Someren Peill to the office of Bluemantle Pursuivant of Arms, vacant by the recent promotion of Mark John Rosborough Scott, now Somerset Herald of Arms. The appointment has been gazetted here.

James Peill, F.S.A. was brought up in the Welsh Marches and read History of Art at Edinburgh University. He was formerly the Curator of the Goodwood Collection. Prior to that, he was a Director of Christie's where he was a specialist in the Furniture Department and an auctioneer. He is the co-author, with the late Knight of Glin, of Irish Furniture (Yale University Press, 2007) and The Irish Country House (Vendome, 2010), and the author of The English Country House (Vendome, 2013). His most recent book is Glorious Goodwood, a Biography of England's Greatest Sporting Estate (Constable, 2019).

Somerset Herald

12 April 2024

By Letters Patent under the Great Seal of the Realm dated 12 April 2024, His Majesty The King has been pleased to appoint Mark John Rosborough Scott to the Office of Somerset Herald of Arms, vacant by the promotion in 2021 of David Vines White, now Garter King of Arms. The appointment has been gazetted here.

Following the death of Hage Geingob, President of the Republic of Namibia, special instructions have been received that as a mark of respect UK Government Buildings should lower their Union Flags to half-mast from as soon as possible today, Sunday 4th February 2024, until 20.00hrs on Monday 5th February.

Any other UK national flags flown alongside the Union Flag when it is at half-mast should also be at half-mast. If a flag of a foreign nation is normally flown on the same stand as, or instead of, the Union Flag, it should be removed.

Local authorities are not bound by this request but may wish to follow it for guidance. Devolved administrations are responsible for issuing instructions for the flying of the Union Flag on buildings in their estate and others as necessary. Enquiries regarding the correct protocols for the flying of Union and other flags should be addressed to the Officer in Waiting at the College of Arms in the first instance.

Register to receive up-to-date advice from the College of Arms on official flag-flying days, instructions for flying flags at half-mast, and other relevant information, here.

Presentations of Grants by Queen Elizabeth II

During the reign of Her late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, on several occasions The Queen personally presented grants of arms.

At Melbourne Town Hall on 6 April 1970, The Queen presented to the Lord Mayor of Melbourne the Letters Patent of Garter, Clarenceux and Norroy and Ulster Kings of Arms dated 18 March 1970, which altered the city’s arms and crest, granted it supporters and a badge, and exemplified a standard [College reference: Grants 132/319]. The blazons were as follows:

Arms: Argent on a Cross cotised Gules between in the first Quarter a Fleece proper banded Azure ringed Gules in the second Quarter on a Mount a Black Bull statant in the third Quarter on Waves of the Sea a Whale naiant spouting and in the fourth Quarter on Waves of the Sea a three masted Ship in full sail a representation of the Royal Crown all also proper.

Crest: On a Wreath of the Colours Out of a Mural Crown Or a demi Kangaroo to the sinister regardant proper.

Supporters: On either side a Lion rampant Or crowned with a Mural Crown Sable and gorged with a Collar Gules charged with two Mullets Argent attached thereto a Chain reflexed over the back also Gules.

Badge: A Fountain charged with a Cross Moline throughout and ensigned by a length of Wall with three crenels Or.

The Letters Patent may be seen here.

Commonwealth of Virginia coat of armsAt the University of Virginia on 10 July 1976, as part of her visit to celebrate the bi-centenary of the United States of America, The Queen presented the Governor of Virginia the Letters Patent of Garter, Clarenceux and Norroy and Ulster Kings of Arms dated 3 June 1976 which devised arms, crest and supporters for the Commonwealth of Virginia [College reference: Foreign Arms 2/119]. The blazons were as follows:

Arms: Argent a Cross Gules between four Escutcheons each ensigned with a Royal Crown those in the first and fourth quarters emblazoned with the Arms of France (modern) quartering those of England the Escutcheon in the second quarter with the Arms of Scotland and that in the third quarter with the Arms of Ireland.

Crest: On a Wreath of the Colours a Female Figure couped below the shoulders proper crined Or vested Gules garnished Gold on her head an Eastern Crown of the last.

Supporters: On either side a Man in Armour (circa 1620) with Sword sheathed proper garnished Or his breast plate Argent charged with a Cross Gules his helmet with beaver raised and adorned with three Ostrich Feathers Argent supporting with his exterior hand a Spear proper tipped Argent.

Because the design included the royal crown and quarterings of the royal arms, The Queen had to approve the design before the devisal could be made. The design was one used by the Virginia Merchants and Colony of Virginia from around 1620 until 1776.

On 9 March 1977, as part of her Silver Jubilee celebrations, The Queen granted supporters to Queensland at a ceremony at the Cloudland Ballroom, Brisbane, with York Herald in attendance, the text of the grant stating that it was ‘Given at Our Court at Brisbane, Queensland’ [College reference: I.84/2]. The supporters granted were On the dexter side a Red Deer and on the sinister side a Brolga wings elevated and addorsed both proper.

British Columbia coat of armsOn 15 October 1987, The Queen granted a crest (on a sovereign’s helm), supporters, and a compartment to British Columbia at a ceremony at the Law Courts, Vancouver, with York Herald in attendance, the text of the grant stating that it was ‘Given at Our Court at Vancouver’, and the warrant being counter-signed by the Secretary of State of Canada, who was also present [College reference: I.84/265]. The blazons were as follows:

Crest: Upon a Helm with a Wreath Argent and Gules the Royal Crest proper of General purpose of Our Royal Predecessor Queen Victoria differenced for Us and Our Successors in right of British Columbia with the Lion thereof garlanded about the neck with the Provincial Flower that is to say the Pacific Dogwood (Cornus nuttallii) with leaves all proper Mantled Gules doubled Argent.

Supporters: On the dexter side a Wapiti Stag (Cervus canadensis) proper and on the sinister side a Bighorn Sheep Ram (Ovis canadensis).

Compartment: Beneath the Shield a Scroll entwined with Pacific Dogwood flowers slipped and leaved proper inscribed with the Motto assigned by the said Warrant of Our Royal Predecessor King Edward VII that is to say SPLENDOR SINE OCCASU

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