Kate Middleton & Prince William's Conjugal Coat of Arms Has Some, Uh, Interesting Symbolism
When you were eight, snuggled in your Glo-worm sleeping bag under a fort of couch cushions in your friends' basement, you probably talked about what it would be like to be a princess. I know I did. My royal fantasy was to live in a house with a basketball hoop and a miniature-horse pen. Had Kate Middleton and I been buddies back then, she might have confessed that her princess dream was a little different. She'd want a high metabolism, a body that bounces back right after baby, and unicorns. While I went on to stay decidedly common, Kate's dreams came true, including that horse with a horn. Kate Middleton and Prince William's conjugal coat of arms was just released and yup, there's a unicorn on it.
You win again, Middleton.
See what happened was, the Middletons were granted their own coat of arms back in 2011, right before Kate married Will. Kate and her family were very involved with the design, according to the Daily Mail, and chose three acorns to represent the three Middleton children (Pippa and James are the younger siblings). The acorns also called attention to the fact that they grew up in West Berkshire, a place known for its oak trees.
Now, Kate's coat has been joined with Will's coat to represent their family forever and ever. It seems a little weird that their coats weren't joined right after they were married — the timing of its reveal coincides nicely with the birth of their first son — but I'll just go ahead and assume there are fancy pants British rules for all this shit that led to the conjugal coat's reveal two years after they tied the knot.
Anyway, let's get back to this UNICORN:
Kate's shield is held by a unicorn, in shackles, chained to the ground. William's shield is held by a jaunty lion with a cherry apple manicure and pedicure. What the shit is going on.
Obviously, there is a lot of royal symbolism. I won't bore you with the details, but the lion, his collar, the colors, the crowns, it all basically says: This family is a BFD in England, so you better show some respect.
But to the layman, it looks like Kate's representation is that of a beautiful, mythical creature with blonde hair that's being held against its will to please the king. The face of the unicorn doesn't look exactly pleased to be there; in fact, it kind of looks as if it's gagging. Prince William's representation, on the other hand, is that of a free jungle cat with a penchant for spa days and, well, chained-up unicorns.
Listen. The unicorn and the lion are long standing symbols of the U.K. They've been used to show the union of England (the lion) and Scotland (the unicorn) since the early 1600s. I'm sure the conjugal coat is not trying to imply that Kate is a shackled legend destined for unhappiness, nor that Will is a big fan of Essie, but hey, to the untrained eye, it all seems a little bizarre.
As the Duke and Duchess move up in the royal ranks, though, their conjugal coat will change. Here's hoping the next one features a lion, a free unicorn, and a photo of Hermione Granger, England's most feminist daughter. Making up for lost time never hurt anyone.