Meghan Markle is no stranger to breaking royal tradition.
From walking herself halfway down the aisle at the royal wedding to doing her own speech at the wedding reception, Meghan continues to break traditions in one of the world’s most traditional institutions.
And now, just days after her royal wedding to Prince Harry, the Duchess of Sussex has received a very special coat of arms.
Normally, it is the royal tradition for the father of the bride to receive a coat of arms, but as Thomas Markle did not attend his daughter’s wedding, Meghan was instead given her own coat of arms.
In another break in tradition, Meghan’s surname is not represented in the design.
Instead, the coat of arms represents Meghan personally.
Kensington Palace said in a statement that the Duchess of Sussex “worked closely with the College of Arms throughout the design process to create a Coat of Arms that was both personal and representative.”
As Meghan was born and raised in Los Angeles, the coat of arms features multiple symbols for California. The shield’s blue background represents the Pacific Ocean off the California coastline while the two golden rays represent the ‘sunshine state’.
Beneath the shield are golden poppies, the official state flower of California and wintersweet, which grows in the grounds of Kensington Palace.
Both the golden poppies and wintersweet were also embroidered into her wedding veil, alongside distinctive flowers from every single country – 53 in total – in the Commonwealth.
Ms. Markle expressed the wish of having all 53 countries of the Commonwealth with her on her journey through the ceremony. Ms. Waight Keller designed a veil representing the distinctive flora of each Commonwealth country united in one spectacular floral composition.
— Kensington Palace (@KensingtonRoyal) May 19, 2018
On either side of her shield are Meghan’s “supporters”, one representing her husband Prince Harry and a songbird representing herself.
The design also features three quills, which are said to represent communication and the power of words – a symbol that some are connecting to Meghan’s activism.
The coat of arms was approved of by the Queen and Thomas Woodcock, the Garter King of Arms and Senior Head in England.
“The Duchess of Sussex took a great interest in the design,” Woodcock said in a statement.
Unlike Meghan, Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge, does not have her own coat of arms. Instead, she shares one with her family, featuring symbols representing each member of the Middleton family.
The coat of arms was gifted to Kate Middleton's father, Michael Middleton, a week before the 2011 royal wedding of Kate and Prince William.
Although Meghan's coat of arms does not feature the Markle family name, Kate's coat of arms reflects both the Middleton family and her mother Carole's maiden name, Goldsmith.
The Duke and Duchess of Sussex will likely receive a "conjugal coat of arms", to represent their combined house in a few years time, as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge did back in 2013.