http://royalwedding.yahoo.com/blogs/middleton-family-gets-coat-of-arms-5416

As far as wedding traditions go, we’ve all heard of something old, something new. Just in time for the royal wedding, princess-to-be Kate Middleton got herself something old and new: a coat of arms for the Middleton family.

The tradition dates back to the 12th century, when the emblems were worn over armor in battle and in tournaments so that opponents could identify each other, according to Thomas Woodcock, the Garter Principal King of Arms. The title is a grand one, established in 1415 by King Henry V on the way to the Battle of Agincourt, according to the BBC.

Woodcock said that the coat of arms has a long and proud tradition in England: “Heraldry is Europe’s oldest, most visual and strictly regulated form of identity.”

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The Middleton family worked with the College of Arms on the design, which is new. The best part–there is also something blue: Kate Middleton’s coat of arms hangs from a blue ribbon, symbolizing she is unmarried — at least for the next 10 days.

Each element represents something reflective of the family: the acorns are for the family’s favorite tree, the oak. The gold chevron is for Carole Middleton’s family name, Goldsmith. The thinner chevrons represent the family’s love for outdoor activities, according to the palace.

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Woodcock admits that many more people qualify for a coat of arms than is probably realized (profession and academic degrees often make you eligible). But It’s not widely publicized, since “If we were to advertise too much it would debase our own currency.”

The coat of arms will be passed down by Kate’s brother James to his descendents.

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