For the Duke of Normandy did bear in his targe of Mars 2 Lions passant guardant of the Sun… and then, by the marriage of Eleanor, daughter and heir to William Duke of Aquitaine (that bare in a Shield gules, a Lion passant, guardant Or) the third Lion was also added to the coat of Normandy.

– From Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586), p105-6

This is one of my favorite heraldic origin stories, not least because it’s very likely to be true. The blazons for Normandy and Aquitaine are easily verifiable, and the combination of those two arms into England’s iconic coat is elegant and satisfying.

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