Labels of the Royal Family

From Encyclopedia of Heraldry by John Burke and John Bernard Burke (1844)

The label is a very common mark of cadency, often used in English heraldry. Most of the time, it signifies the arms of a first son while his father is alive; once the father dies and the first son inherits, the label is removed from the arms and the son bears them undifferenced. The label then passes to the first son of the first son, and so on. However, because there are always exceptions for the royal family, anyone who bears the royal arms of the United Kingdom who isn’t the current sovereign always gets a label – typically argent, typically of three points. Anyone who isn’t the heir to the throne will have something put on their label to signify that they’re not the heir, just in the line of succession. Below) are the labels of some of the royal family in 1842.

Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa

Princess Victoria Adelaide Mary Louisa, daughter of Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, later German Empress and Queen of Prussia : a label argent charged with a rose between two crosses gules

Ernest Augustus

Ernest Augustus, King of Hanover and Duke of Cumberland, fifth son of George III (i.e. Victoria’s uncle) (1771-1851): a label argent charged with a fleur-de-lis azure between two crosses gules

Augustus Frederick

Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, sixth son of George III: a label argent charged with two hearts in pale between as many crosses gules

Mary of Gloucester

Princess Mary, Duchess of Gloucester and Edinburgh, fourth daughter of George III (1776-1857): a label argent charged with a rose between two cantons gules

Princess Sophia

Princess Sophia, fifth daughter of George III (1777-1848): a label argent charged with a heart between two roses gules

Sophia Matilda of Gloucester

Princess Sophia Matilda of Gloucester, first daughter of Prince William Henry (i.e. Victoria’s cousin) (1773-1844): a label of five points argent charged with a fleur-de-lis azure between four crosses gules

Arms of Draßburg, Austria


Granted 1998

Blazon: Per fess azure a passion cross or upon a triple mount in base proper and per pale of the first a griffin counter-segreant crowned and bearing a scimitar in the left of the second and in the right three roses gules, slipped and leaved proper, and of the second between a stag’s attires a cross paté of the first.

I don’t have a direct source for the cross, but it seems like a pretty standard thing to put on your municipal arms if you are a small Christian community. However, I do have sources for the base half of the shield. The griffin – crown, scimitar, roses, and all – is taken from the Esterházy arms, which are fucking amazing. I will have to come back to those sometime in the future, because WOW. The Esterházys controlled roughly one-third of the area that currently forms Draßburg from sometime in the 1620s through 1848. Similarly, the other quarter of the shield is derived from the Zichy arms; they controlled the other two-thirds of the area from 1672 to 1715 and from 1795 to 1848. (The Zichys sold the area to the Mesko family in 1715, but after eighty years’ worth of legal proceedings, the Meskos were ordered to give it back.) If you’re wondering what happened in 1848, well… let’s just say the Austrian nobility went into a sharp decline right around then.

Arms of Derbyshire County, England


Granted 1937

Blazon: Or a rose gules surmounted by another argent, both barbed and seeded proper, on a chief sable three stags’ heads caboshed of the third

Crest: Issuant from a mural crown or a dragon wings elevated and addorsed sable holding in the dexter claw a pick of the first and collared argent

Supporters: On the dexter a stag and on the sinister a ram, both proper and gorged with a chain or pendant therefrom a rose gules surmounted by another argent, barbed and seeded also proper

Mantling: Gules lined or

Motto: Bene consulendo (By good counsel)

The double rose is referred to as the Tudor rose; Henry VII adopted it as a badge to symbolize the union of the houses of Lancaster (whose symbol was a red rose) and York (the white rose). The county previously used the Tudor rose as an unofficial device. The stag refers to the first local fort built by Danish invaders, which was named Derby after the number of deer in the region, and eventually gave its name to the county.

Arms of Wolpertshausen, Germany


Granted 1955

Blazon: Gules two warhammers addorsed argent, on a chief of the second three roses of the field

The hammers are from the arms of the Lords of Reinsberg, and the roses are derived from the arms of the Lords of Bilriet. The former owned a town that was later incorporated into Wolpertshausen, while the latter owned the original municipality.

Arms of Brunnenthal, Austria


Granted 1983

Blazon: Argent a rose gules slipped and seeded or within an annulet of the last and a base with a Jochschnitt azure

The Jochschnitt (or “yoke cut”) is a charge used exclusively in Germanic heraldry that refers to a semi-circular incision towards the base of the shield. Charges may have multiple Jochschnitts. The base is intended to represent the local spa, which was already well-known in the 17th century. The rose is the symbol of St. Mary, patron saint of the town.