A publican's dream: Camilla's new coat of arms is unveiled

Unveiled yesterday by Clarence House, the resplendent get-up (which would not disgrace the shield of a knight in a Dungeons and Dragons game) comes courtesy of Peter Gwynn-Jones, Garter Principal King of Arms.

Done in tasteful blue, red, gold and green, Camilla's crest combines elements taken from the coats of arms belonging to her husband - the Prince of Wales - and her father, Major Bruce Shand. The royal lion is supported by the blue boar that appears on Major Shand's crest. The shield that sits between them is divided, displaying symbols that represent both families, and the whole is surmounted by a single arched crown borrowed from Charles's arms. Small it certainly is not.

It is, depending on your point of view, either stunning, anachronistic or deeply significant, in a medieval, Ivanhoe-ish kind of way. Mr Gwynn-Jones presumably takes the latter view. He said: "It has been a great pleasure to work on preparing the Duchess's coat of arms and to ensure that the identity of her own family is clearly displayed in this new form."

The semioticists can now get to work on the symbolism. Unlike a 14th-century squire, who could read coats of arms at 50 paces, what can 21st-century Britons make of it? The design features nine bits of livestock, none of which, given the Duchess's known pursuits, are recognisable as a horse. Nor is there any sign of the famous fag, couchant or otherwise.

But, as pub signs go, it will do very nicely.

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