Posted on : 19 March 2016
The Royal Agricultural Society of NSW (RAS) has proudly used the British Royal coat of arms as its logo since 1891. It’s a coat of arms loaded with meaning.
Notice how the shield is divided into quarters. Two depict the three passant guardant lions of England. One quarter shows the rampant lion and double tressure flory-counterflory of Scotland, while the final quadrant contains a harp representing Ireland. Atop the shield is St Edward's Crown, representing the power of the Royal Family.
Flanking the shield are a crowned English lion on one side and a Scottish unicorn on the other. According to legend a free unicorn was considered a very dangerous creature; therefore the heraldic unicorn is depicted chained. Below the shield there is a thistle, a Tudor Rose and a shamrock, representing Scotland, England and Ireland respectively.
The arms feature the motto of English monarchs, Dieu et mon droit (God and my right), as well as the motto of the Order of the Garter, Honi soit qui mal y pense (shame upon him who thinks evil of it) on a representation of the Garter bordering the shield. The Order of the Garter is the foremost Order of Chivalry in the UK and is thought to have been established by King Edward as a revival of the Knights of the Round Table. The mottos are in French as they date from the period of Norman rule in England, when French was the primary language of the English Court.
Very few Australian institutions outside of Governments and Courts have been bestowed the honour of the use of the British Royal coat of arms.
The RAS has always been proud of its Royal links which over the years have remained undimmed. Every year at the Show, a ceremonial horse-drawn vehicle enters the main arena bearing the Queen's representative to officially open proceedings. Painted on the doors of the vehicle, which belongs to the RAS, is the Royal coat of arms. It's a right royal occasion - one of the many time-honoured traditions of the Show.
WORDS: Vicki Hastrich
(Published March 2016)