At the time of the coronation in 1953 there were a number of decorations set up in London composed of royal devices in their various forms. Amongst them, in Westminster Abbey, stood ten six foot tall royal heraldic beasts. Their inspiration was taken from the heraldic beasts at Hampton Court Palace originally placed there by Henry VIII, gaining them the name “the King’s Beasts.”
These beasts, and others like them may be found on coats of arms, heraldic badges used on the liveries and standards of various families and the two heraldic supports of a shield of arms.
The royal arms and their beasts have changed across the centuries – the Tudors added a royal beast, as did the Stuarts for example.
Royal arms can be seen in churches across the country. It became usual for churches to do this following the Reformation – and was a very visual way of the population being reminded exactly who was in charge. Royal arms can also be found in various stately stacks around the country as assorted nobility and gentry used their building projects to demonstrate their loyalty to their monarch.
So, your challenge this week, is to name as many royal beasts as you can that have been linked with the royal family since 1066. And just to get you started here is a link to an old post about the lion and the unicorn https://thehistoryjar.com/2016/05/14/the-lion-and-the-unicorn-2/
By all means add the royal beast into the comments box – and if you wish the person who introduced it into the royal family.
Pinches, J.H. &R.V. (1974) The Royal Heraldry of England. London: Heraldry Today
Stanford London, H. (1953) The Queen’s Beasts. London: Newman Name