Prince of Wales's feathers

The Prince of Wales's feathers is the heraldic badge of the Prince of Wales. It consists of three white ostrich feathers emerging from a gold coronet. A ribbon below the coronet bears the motto Ich dien (German: [ɪç ˈdiːn], "I serve"). As well as being used in royal heraldry, the badge is sometimes used to symbolise Wales,[1] particularly in Welsh rugby union and Welsh regiments of the British Army.

Prince of Wales's feathers
Prince of Wales's feathers Badge
ArmigerCharles, Prince of Wales
BlazonA plume of three ostrich feathers Argent enfiled by a royal coronet of alternate crosses and fleur-de-lys Or
MottoGerman: Ich dien

Origins of the badge

Arms of the Prince of Wales (Shield of Peace)
The Black Prince's "shield for peace".
Canterbury Cathedral 28
Tomb of the Black Prince, Canterbury Cathedral

The badge has no connection with the native Princes of Wales.

Its use is generally traced back to Edward, the Black Prince (1330–1376), eldest son and heir apparent of Edward III of England. Edward bore (as an alternative to his differenced royal arms) a shield of Sable, three ostrich feathers argent, described as his "shield for peace", probably meaning the shield he used for jousting. These arms can be seen several times on his chest tomb in Canterbury Cathedral, alternating with his royal arms[2] (the royal arms of King Edward III differenced by a label of three points argent). The prince also used badges of one or more ostrich feathers in a number of other contexts.[3]

The feathers had first appeared at the marriage of Edward III to Philippa of Hainault, and it is therefore likely that the Black Prince inherited the badge from his mother.[4] Philippa was descended from the Counts of Hainault, whose eldest son bore the title "Count of Ostrevent", the ostrich (French: autruche, Old French spellings including ostruce) feathers being (perhaps) a heraldic pun on that name.[5][6][7] Alternatively, the badge may have derived from the Counts of Luxembourg, from whom Philippa was also descended, and who had used the badge of an ostrich.[5]

Ostrich Feather Badge of Henry IV
"Sovereygne" ostrich feather badge used by Henry IV

Edward III occasionally used ostrich feather badges,[6] as did other members of the royal family in the 14th and 15th centuries. The Black Prince's younger brother, John of Gaunt, used ostrich feathers in several contexts, including on a shield very similar to Edward's "shield for peace", although in this case the feathers were ermine.[8][9] Edward's illegitimate son, Sir Roger de Clarendon, bore arms of Or, on a black bend, three ostrich feathers argent;[10] and his legitimate son, King Richard II, used ostrich feather badges in several colours.[11] Henry IV used a badge of a single ostrich feather with a scroll entwined around it bearing the motto "Ma sovereyne" or "Sovereygne"; and, of Henry's sons, Henry V used ostrich feathers as a secondary royal badge at various times, Thomas, Duke of Clarence used an ermine ostrich feather labelled; John, Duke of Bedford an ostrich feather with the "Sovereygne" scroll; and Humphrey, Duke of Gloucester an ostrich feather studded with fleurs-de-lis. Similar badges were used by other royal princes.[12][13]

Badge of Prince Edward 1543
The badge of Prince Edward (later Edward VI), as published in the Genethliacon illustrissimi Eaduerdi principis Cambriae of John Leland (1543)

The first Prince of Wales to use the badge in its modern form (i.e. three white feathers encircled by a coronet, and with the motto Ich dien) was Prince Arthur (1486–1502), eldest son of Henry VII, at the beginning of the 16th century.[5][14] It was also widely used by Prince Edward, son of Henry VIII and afterwards Edward VI, although he was never formally invested as Prince of Wales.[15] Feathers continued to be used as lesser royal badges, by Elizabeth I among others, until the end of the century.[16] Only from the beginning of the 17th century did the badge become exclusively associated with the Prince of Wales. It is has been a part of the coat of arms of the Prince of Wales since at least 1901.

Oriel College Feathers
An early 17th-century painted carving on the main gate of Oriel College, Oxford

Popular accounts of origins

According to a longstanding legend, the Black Prince obtained the badge from the blind King John of Bohemia, against whom he fought at the Battle of Crécy in 1346. After the battle, the prince is said to have gone to the body of the dead king, and taken his helmet with its ostrich feather crest, afterwards incorporating the feathers into his arms, and adopting King John's motto, "Ich dien", as his own. The story first appears in writing in 1376, the year of the Black Prince's death. There is, however, no sound historical basis for it, and no evidence for King John having used either the crest (he actually bore a crest of vultures' wings) or the motto.[4][5][6]

Since a key factor in the English army's victory at Crécy was the use of Welsh archers, it is also sometimes said to have been Edward's pride in the men of Wales which led him to adopt a symbol alluding to their assistance. The mediaeval German motto "Ich dien" ("I serve") is a near-homophone for the Welsh phrase "Eich Dyn" meaning "Your Man", which might have helped endear the young Black Prince to the Welsh soldiers in particular. Again, however, there is no historical evidence to support this theory. In 1917, during the First World War, it was rumoured that the motto might be formally changed to "Eich Dyn" to avoid the use of German.[17]

Modern uses of the badge

Ruabon HSBC
Architectural rendition of the feathers on the former North & South Wales Bank, Ruabon

Military uses

The badge is the cap badge of the Royal Welsh, an amalgamation of three Welsh regiments, the Royal Welch Fusiliers, the Royal Regiment of Wales and the Territorial Army's Royal Welsh Regiment. Previously it was the cap badge of the Prince of Wales's Own Civil Service Rifles, whose motto was also Ich dien.

The badge also appears as an element on the regimental badges of many other regiments of the British and Commonwealth armies which have a historical connection with the Prince of Wales:

Sporting uses

The feathers have traditionally been worn on the jerseys of players in the Welsh rugby union team, being sewn on jerseys of players representing Welsh clubs before a national team or union existed. It has since been adopted as the logo of the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU). In the 1990s, the WRU modified the form of the badge they used to copyright the design. The new logo is more stylised, with "WRU" in place of "Ich dien". As the logo of the WRU, the Prince of Wales' feathers are also represented in one of the quarters of the British and Irish Lions' badge.

The Welsh Rugby League has stuck to the traditional three feathers with "Cymru RL" ("RL" standing for "rugby league") written underneath.

Surrey County Cricket Club were granted permission in 1915 to use the feathers for their badge. Their home ground, The Oval, is on land owned by the Prince of Wales.[19]

The feathers appear on the badge of Wrexham Association Football Club.

Two Pence 01
The feathers on a British two pence coin, 1971–2008

The feathers are used as the logo of Oxford University Rifle Club (OURC).[20]

Other uses

The Carlton Club uses the feathered coronet badge as its emblem, without the motto.

Prince of Wales' College, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, has used the feathers since the inception of the school in 1876.

The badge appeared on the reverse of the British two pence coins minted between 1971 and 2008, many of which remain in circulation. The badge appears as a provenance mark on those silver coins minted using Welsh mined silver in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.

During the English Civil War, most coins minted by Charles I at his various provincial wartime mints carry the feathers. The feathers appear on these coins because Charles I had no access to the Royal Mint in London and instead transferred the Aberystwyth Mint (originally established to coin Welsh silver) to Shrewsbury and then Oxford as an emergency measure. All the Civil War provincial mints are therefore in effect sub-branches of the Aberystwyth mint.

The badge was until 1985 on the coat of arms of Penang, a state in present-day Malaysia, which was founded in 1786 as the settlement of Prince of Wales Island.

The badge is inscribed on the foundation stone, laid on 25 February 1927, of Patna Medical College and Hospital, in Patna, Bihar, India, established in 1925 as the Prince of Wales Medical College. The motto "Ich dien" is still widely used within the institution.

The badge is used by a society in Malta called 'The Prince of Wales Philharmonic Society'. The scope of this organisation is mainly one related to music but is also linked to the feast of St. Dominic in Vittoriosa in Malta. Malta was a colony of the British Crown for 200 years, and there exist a variety of clubs and organisations bearing the name of royal personalities.

From 1932 until its abolition in 1965, the Municipal Borough of Barnes in London used feathers based on those of the Prince of Wales on its coat of arms, in honour of the fact that the then Prince of Wales (afterwards Edward VIII, and later Duke of Windsor) had been born in the borough.[21]

Norfolk County Council was given special consent by King Edward VII to use the badge on its arms, in recognition of Sandringham House, which was one of the King's favourite residences.[22] Edward held the title Prince of Wales for 59 years, making him the longest-serving holder.

A derivative of the badge is that used by the Prince's Trust, a charitable organisation that helps young people.

Many pubs in the UK are named The Prince of Wales's Feathers, the Prince's Feathers or simply the Feathers, particularly in areas associated with royal estates.

See also


  1. ^ "National Emblems". Welsh Assembly Government. 2008. Archived from the original on 26 April 2009. Retrieved 1 December 2010.
  2. ^ Scott Giles 1929, pp. 89–91.
  3. ^ Siddons 2009, pp. 178–9.
  4. ^ a b Scott-Giles 1929, p. 89.
  5. ^ a b c d Pinches and Pinches 1974, p. 59.
  6. ^ a b c Siddons 2009, p. 178.
  7. ^ "6th letter". London: 30 August 2006.
  8. ^ Siddons 2009, p. 181.
  9. ^ Harris, Oliver D. (2010). ""Une tresriche sepulture": the tomb and chantry of John of Gaunt and Blanche of Lancaster in Old St Paul's Cathedral, London". Church Monuments. 25: 7–35 (22–3).
  10. ^ Scott-Giles 1929, pp. 90–91.
  11. ^ Siddons 2009, pp. 179–80.
  12. ^ Siddons 2009, pp. 182–6.
  13. ^ Pinches and Pinches 1974, pp. 89–93.
  14. ^ Siddons 2009, pp. 186–8.
  15. ^ Siddons 2009, pp. 188–9.
  16. ^ Siddons 2009, pp. 187–9.
  17. ^ "Motto of Prince of Wales". Aberdeen Weekly Journal. 14 September 1917. p. 3.
  18. ^ ("Archived copy". Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2015.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link))
  19. ^ Williamson, Martin. "A brief history of Surrey". ESPNcricinfo. Retrieved 16 July 2015.
  20. ^ Oxford University Rifle Club
  21. ^ "Municipal Borough of Barnes". Heraldry of the World. Retrieved 11 November 2014.
  22. ^ "Norfolk County Council". Civic Heraldry of England and Wales. Retrieved 9 December 2014.


Alexandra Athletic F.C.

Alexandra Athletic Football Club were a 19th-century football club that participated in the early years of the Scottish Cup.

Playing at Kennyhill (now Alexandra) Park on Cumbernauld Road in Glasgow, Alexandra Athletic played in white shirts with a blue Prince of Wales's feathers and white shorts.

Alexandra Athletic's successes in the Scottish Cup were few and far between, and they rarely progressed past the first round.

Alexandra Athletic finally dissolved in 1884.


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Cilfynydd RFC

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Diana, Princess of Wales, was the first wife of Charles, Prince of Wales, and the mother of Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, and Prince Harry, Duke of Sussex. She owned a collection of jewels–both as a member of the British royal family and as a private individual. They were separate from the coronation and state regalia of the Crown Jewels.

Most of her jewels were either presents from foreign royalty, on loan from Queen Elizabeth II, wedding presents, purchased by Diana herself, and heirlooms belonging to the Spencer family. Her jewellery was a mix of precious stones and costume pieces, often reported by the media as being "priceless", which the Princess found amusing. Most of the jewellery dates from the 19th and 20th centuries.

At formal occasions, such as banquets, the Princess normally wore jewellery lent to her by the Queen, who owns more than 300 items of jewellery.

Ince and Mayhew

Ince and Mayhew were a partnership of furniture designers, upholsterers and cabinetmakers, founded and run by William Ince (1737–1804)and John Mayhew (1736–1811) in London, from 1759 to 1803; Mayhew continued alone in business until 1809. Their premises were listed in London directories in Broad Street, Soho, 1763–83, and in Marshall Street, Carnaby Market, 1783–1809. The partnership's volume of engraved designs, The Universal System of Household Furniture, dedicated to the Duke of Marlborough (published in parts, 1759–63), was issued in imitative rivalry with Thomas Chippendale; Ince, who was a subscriber to the first edition of Chippendale's Director, was chiefly responsible for the designs, while Mayhew contributed the greater part of the partnership's capital, kept the accounts, and was in closer contact with the firm's clientele among the nobility and gentry.John Mayhew served as apprentice to William Smith Bradshaw, a prominent upholsterer, and William Ince served his time with John West, King Street, Covent Garden, according to the advertisement the partners took out in the Public Advertiser 27 January 1759, as they set up in the former premises of Charles Smith. The following year Ince and Mayhew contributed some furniture designs to the joint production Household Furniture in Genteel Taste for the year 1760. By a Society of Upholsterers.

The notices to the designs of their Universal System are given in English and French, and the firm advertised "French furniture consigned from Paris"; Mayhew's name appears repeatedly in Christie's archives as purchaser of French furniture and gilt-bronze at auction.

An early neoclassical suite of six armchairs and a settee, to be covered in Gobelins tapestry, were provided to George Coventry, 6th Earl of Coventry for the Tapestry Room at Croome Court, Worcestershire (now at the Metropolitan Museum of Art) The "Antique Elbow Chairs" were the first neoclassical chairs in Europe with oval backs. Ince and Mayhew were also among the first London furniture-makers to exploit marquetry decoration when it became fashionable once again in the 1760s: in 1765 they provided for Croome Court a pair of uncompromisingly rectangular commodes with richly engraved neoclassical marquetry of satinwood and holly.The ceiling for the Tapestry Room at Croome was designed by Robert Adam. Ince and Mayhew provided furniture for a number of Adam's other patrons: Sir John Whitwell at Audley End (1767), the Duchess of Northumberland (from 1771) the Earl of Kerry (from 1771). In 1775 they constructed, to Adam's numerous and detailed designs, the celebrated Kimbolton Cabinet inlaid with Florentine pietra dura plaques for the Duchess of Manchester (now at the Victoria and Albert Museum); Boulton and Fothergill supplied the gilt-bronze mounts. For Lady Derby's Dressing Room at Derby House, London, they executed a demilune commode to Adam's design of October 1774, delivered in November 1775; it combined strongly contrasting richly engraved satinwood and harewood marquetry in an "Etruscan" taste with painted panels and gilt-bronze mounts; discovery of the commode enabled Hugh Roberts tentatively to identify a series of comparable demilune and serpentine-fronted marquetry commodes to the firm. Furnishings were also provided for the Duchess of Devonshire's private apartment at Chatsworth.

Ince and Mayhew also provided furnishings for Humphry Sturt at Crichel House, Dorset, where James Wyatt was providing designs for the interiors Their furniture for Warren Hastings at Daylesford House, Worcestershire, amounted to £2187The firm was prominent enough to be commissioned to vet Dominique Daguerre's bills for furnishing Carlton House, 1783–89, but none of their production for the Prince of Wales nor the royal family has been identified.

They provided furniture in 1802 for Hester Thrale Piozzi at Brynbella. A suite of "Hepplewhite" chairs with the Prince of Wales's feathers in the backs were provided for the Westminster Fire Office (1792), where they remain.

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The regiment took part in the Second Boer War as part of the Imperial Yeomanry. In the First World War, it fought on the Western Front, but saw relatively little action as horsed cavalry. After conversion to infantry, it fought in the trenches, notably during 3rd Ypres in 1917 and during the German Spring Offensive in 1918.

In the Second World War, the regiment fought in the Middle East, seeing action in Syria against Vichy French forces, as well as operations in Iraq and Iran. It then joined 9th Armoured Brigade, seeing action in North Africa and Italy. With this formation, it took part in the Second Battle of El Alamein, spearheading the break-out of the 2nd New Zealand Division during Operation Supercharge on 2 November 1942.

The Royal Wiltshire Yeomanry cap badge is the Prince of Wales's feathers on a red baize backing, and vehicles carry the New Zealand fern leaf emblem.

Surrey County Cricket Club

Surrey County Cricket Club is one of eighteen first-class county clubs within the domestic cricket structure of England and Wales. It represents the historic county of Surrey and also South London. The club was founded in 1845 but teams representing the county have played top-class cricket since the early 18th century and the club has always held first-class status. Surrey have competed in the County Championship since the official start of the competition in 1890 and have played in every top-level domestic cricket competition in England.Home of the club since its foundation in 1845 has been The Oval (currently known officially as the 'Kia Oval' following a sponsorship deal with the Kia Motors company), in the Kennington area of Lambeth in South London. The club also has an 'out ground' at Woodbridge Road, Guildford, where some home games are played each season.

Surrey have had three notable periods of great success in their history. The club was unofficially proclaimed as "Champion County" seven times during the 1850s; it won the title eight times from 1887 to 1895 (including the first ever officially constituted County Championship in 1890); and seven consecutive outright titles from 1952 to 1958 inclusive following a shared title (with Lancashire) in 1950. In 1955, Surrey won 23 of its 28 county matches, a record that still stands and can no longer be bettered as counties have played fewer than 23 matches each season since 1993. To date, Surrey has won the official County Championship 19 times outright (and shared once), more than any other county with the exception of Yorkshire, with the most recent win being 2018.

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They compete in the Under 18 Six Nations Festival and a separate under 18's four nation tournament.

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