Arms of Centre-Val de Loire, France

Centre-Val de Loire

In use since at least 2005

Blazon: Azure three fleurs-de-lis or and a label of as many points argent within a bordure compony argent and gules

Weirdly, I can’t find much information on the origin of these arms, though I’ve found identical files going back to 2005. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they’ve been in use for much, much longer, though. The arms themselves look like a composite of the arms of two former provinces: the three fleurs-de-lis and the label are the arms of both the House of Orléans and the former province of Orléanais. These are, of course, just the royal arms of France differenced, since the House of Orléans is a cadet branch of the Bourbons.The bordure compony seems to come from Touraine, though I don’t know how that originally got started.

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Arms of Simon de Somery

de Somery

From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Azure fretty argent, on a canton or a fleur-de-lis gules

I can’t quite establish a historical presence for Simon de Somery; there does seem to have been someone by that name who was a pastor of Clent and studied abroad for three years in 1274. It’s unclear whether he was related to the de Somerys of Dudley Castle, though they apparently bore or two lions passant azure (or with the tinctures swapped; a lot of this is unclear).

Arms of Willem Agilon

ALT

From the Dering Roll (c. 1270-1300)

Blazon: Azure a fleur-de-lis argent

It seems reasonable to speculate that Willem/William is related to Robert Aguillon, who is also featured in the Dering Roll (87). I think it’s possible that William was Robert’s younger brother, though the dates are a little off. The Dering Roll was produced well before a consistent system of differencing or cadency came into popular use in England, and changing tinctures was an easy and obvious way to tell different family members with the same arms apart. (Wyrley would approve.) Assuming William was in fact the second son of the Aguillons, under the later system of cadency, he would have borne gules a fleur-de-lis argent, a crescent for difference.

Arms of France moderne

France moderne

In use 1376 – 1804

Blazon: Azure three fleurs-de-lis or

In an effort to double down on the Catholic symbolism of the French national arms, Charles V of France reduced the number of fleurs-de-lis on the arms from undefined but large (blazoned as semé, or “strewn”) to three. This was an allusion to the Trinity as well as the Virgin Mary; the lily is one of her symbols. Napoleon discarded the former royal arms when he became emperor in 1804, and though the three fleurs-de-lis were briefly restored along with the Bourbons in 1814, they did not survive the July Monarchy. The traditional supporters of the arms of France were two angels proper.

Arms of France ancien

France ancien

In use from at least 1211 until 1376

Blazon: Azure semé de lis or

According to legend, the former (ancien) arms of France originated when Clovis I, first king of the Franks, was baptized. He adopted the lily as his new emblem to symbolize the purity of the Virgin Mary and his new faith. However, despite this legend and its name, the fleur-de-lis (literally, lily flower) doesn’t actually look very much like a lily. Most credible authorities, including Boutell, Dalloway, and numerous French heralds, assert that the depiction is intended as some form of flower, probably an iris, that was later confused with a lily. However, there is a poorly-supported but persistent theory that it is actually a stylized spearhead. While this would explain the bizarre figure of leopard’s heads jessant-de-lis, there isn’t much else to recommend it.

Arms of Anne of Bohemia

Anne of Bohemia
Queen of England 1382-1394 (1366-1394)

From p104 of Lacies Nobilitie by Sir John Ferne (1586)

Blazon: Per quarterly I and IV per quarterly i and iv azure three fleurs-de-lis or (France), ii and iii gules three lions passant guardant or armed and langued azure (England); II and III per quarterly i and iv or a double-headed eagle displayed sable armed and langued gules (Holy Roman Empire), ii and iii gules a lion rampant argent*

*Ferne describes this last coat as “the coate belonging to her family and house,” which does seem to be accurate. However, these arms seem to have originated with Anne’s grandfather, John the Blind, who quartered them with the more customary arms of Luxembourg (barry argent and azure a lion rampant double-queued gules armed, langued, and crowned or). He may have chosen to invert the tinctures of the ancient arms of the Dukes of Limburg, his ancestral line.

Torquatus points out, correctly, that this arrangement of the arms implies that Anne was an heiress, which she was not. Paradius (Ferne’s mouthpiece character) concedes the point, admitting that this arrangement is rare, but goes on to argue that this is a legitimate configuration of arms, since it is essentially the customary impalement of the arms of a married couple counterchanged by fess.This claim is dubious at best.