Royal Society - Coat of Arms

Coat of Arms

The Coat of Arms of the Royal Society, is "in a dexter corner of a shield argent our three Lions of England, and for crest a helm adorned with a crown studded with florets, surmounted by an eagle of proper colour holding in one foot a shield charged with our lions: supporters two white hounds gorged with crowns", with the motto of "nullius in verba". John Evelyn, interested in the early structure of the Society, had sketched out at least six possible designs, but in August 1662 Charles II told the Society that it was allowed to use the arms of England as part of its coat, and the Society "now resolv'd that the armes of the Society should be, a field Argent, with a canton of the armes of England; the supporters two talbots Argent; Crest, an eagle Or holding a shield with the like armes of England, viz. 3 lions. The words Nullius in verba". This was approved by Charles, who asked Garter King of Arms to create a diploma for it, and when the second Charter was signed on 22 April 1663 the arms were granted to the President, Council and Fellows of the Society, along with their successors.

The helmet of the arms was not specified in the Charter, but the engraver sketched out a peer's helmet on the final design, which is used. This is contrary to the heraldic rules, as a society or corporation normally has an esquire's helmet; it is thought that either the engraver was ignorant of this rule, which was not strictly adhered to until around 1615, or that he used the peer's helmet as a compliment to Lord Brouncker, a peer and the first President of the Royal Society.

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