Today (ed. yesterday, due to technical issues) is the official birthday of Queen Elizabeth II of the United Kingdom. It’s not the day she was actually born, but an official holiday. The tradition of two birthdays was started by Edward VII. His actual date of birth was in November, which is not the best time for a public celebration. So he opted to pick a day in June that would hopefully have less terrible weather. Most British monarchs whose birthdays fell during the less pleasant months followed the tradition.
The arms borne by Elizabeth II do not differ significantly from those borne by Victoria; the one major difference is the Irish harp is now a plainer form rather than the older winged woman. Elizabeth made the change in 1952 due to personal preference.
The three basic elements of England, Scotland, and Ireland have shared a shield (albeit often with other arms) since the personal union of James I and VI in 1603. This is also, not coincidentally, around the same time that the line of monarchs began using different arms in Scotland; James bore per quarterly I and IV Scotland, II per quarterly France and England, III Ireland. The current royal arms of the United Kingdom take the same form in Scotland, with the omission of the French arms. (For the record – the British monarchs did not yield their claim to the French throne, or their use of the French arms, until 1801, which is still remarkable to me.)
The Scottish version of the achievement also transposes the lion and the unicorn supporters, placing the Scottish unicorn on the dexter (more prominent) side and adding an imperial crown. The supporters also bear banners of their respective nations’ crosses; St. Andrew (azure a saltire argent) for Scotland, and St. George (argent a cross gules) for England. Finally – although there are numerous other small differences – the crest on the Scottish version is a lion sejant affronté gules armed and langued azure, royally crowned holding in the dexter paw a sword and in the sinister a sceptre, all proper.
I don’t want to go into too much depth on Hanover’s incorporation into the national arms, since I’ve already covered those monarchical variations in pretty significant depth while walking through the Burkes’ royal armory, but suffice to say that between 1714 and 1837, the British arms included either a quarter or an escutcheon of pretense with the arms of Hanover, to reflect the kings’ titles in the Holy Roman/Austrian Empire. It is specifically the kings who used the Hanoverian arms, since by definition, a woman could not inherit the land – and when Victoria became queen in 1837, she didn’t, which gives us nearly the same arms Elizabeth II uses today.