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The Queen's Beasts (Silver)

The Queen's Beasts (Silver)

The Lion of England
The Lion of England is the crowned golden lion of England, which has been one of the supporters of the Royal Arms since the reign of Edward IV. It supports a shield showing the Arms of the United Kingdom as they have been since Queen Victoria's accession in 1837. In the first and last quarters of the shield are the lions of England, taken from the arms of Richard I "The Lionheart". The lion and tressure of Scotland appear in the second, and the harp of Ireland is in the third.

The Griffin of Edward III
The griffin of Edward III Queen's Beast is an ancient mythical beast. It was considered a beneficent creature, signifying courage and strength combined with guardianship, vigilance, swiftness and keen vision. It was closely associated with Edward III who engraved it on his private seal. The shield shows the Round Tower of Windsor Castle, where Edward III was born, with the Royal Standard flying from the turret, enclosed by two branches of oak surmounted by the royal crown.

The Red Dragon of Wales
The red dragon was a badge used by Owen Tudor, after the story of the dragon on Llewelyn the Last's castle grounds. His grandson, Henry VII, took it as a token of his supposed descent from Cadwaladr, the last of the line of Maelgwn. The beast holds a shield bearing a lion in each quarter. This was the coat of arms of Llywelyn ap Gruffudd, the last native Prince of Wales.

The White Greyhound of Richmond
The White Greyhound of Richmond was a badge of John of Gaunt, Earl of Richmond, son of Edward III. It was also used by Henry IV and especially by Henry VII. The Tudor double rose can be seen on the shield, one rose within another surmounted by a crown. It symbolizes the union of two of the cadet houses of the Plantagenet, York and Lancaster.

The Black Bull of Clarence
The Black Bull of Clarence descended to the Queen through Edward IV. The shield shows the Royal Arms as they were borne by Edward IV and his brother Richard III as well as all the Sovereigns of the Houses of Lancaster and Tudor.

The Falcon of the Plantagenets
The falcon was first used by Edward III of the House of Plantagenet as his badge. It descended to Edward IV, who took it as his personal badge, the falcon being seated within an open fetterlock. The slightly open fetterlock is supposed to refer to the struggle Edward IV had to obtain the throne, "he forced the lock and won the throne."

The Yale of Beaufort
The Yale was a mythical beast, supposedly white and covered with gold spots and able to swivel each of its horns independently. It descends to the Queen through Henry VII, who inherited it from his mother, Lady Margaret Beaufort. The shield shows a portcullis surmounted by a royal crown. The portcullis, uncrowned, was a Beaufort badge, but was used both crowned and uncrowned by Henry VII.

The White Lion Mortimer
The White Lion of Mortimer descends to the Queen through Edward IV. The shield shows a white rose encircled by a golden sun, known heraldically as a "white rose en soleil" which is really a combination of two distinct badges. Both of these appear on the Great Seals of Edward IV and Richard III, and were used by George VI when Duke of York. Unlike the Lion of England, this beast is uncrowned.

The White Horse of Hanover
The White Horse of Hanover was introduced into the Royal Arms in 1714 when the crown of Great Britain passed to the Elector George of Hanover. This grandson of Elizabeth Stuart, sister of Charles I, became George I, King of Britain, France and Ireland. The shield shows the leopards of England and the lion of Scotland in the first quarter, the fleur-de-lis of France in the second and the Irish harp in the third quarter. The fourth quarter shows the Arms of Hanover.

The Unicorn of Scotland
From the end of the 16th century, two unicorns were adopted as the supporters of the Scottish Royal Arms. In 1603, the crown of England passed to James VI of Scotland, who then became James I of England. He took as supporters of his Royal Arms a crowned lion of England and one of his Scottish unicorns. The unicorn holds a shield showing the Royal Arms of Scotland, a lion ramping in a royal tressure, adorned with fleur-de-lis.
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