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The Coat of Arms of Northern Ireland, with supporters (1925)

The Coat of Arms of Northern Ireland was granted to the Government of Northern Ireland in 1924, after the Irish Free State had separated from the United Kingdom.

Neville Rodwell Wilkinson, Ulster King of Arms, had designed the great seal and flag of Northern Ireland in 1923. In January 1924 he held discussions with Northern Ireland officials in London regarding the coat of arms. The final design was completed by Wilkinson's deputy Thomas Ulick Sadleir for approval by the Northern Ireland cabinet in April 1924.[1] The artwork was approved and the Royal warrant signed by George V and issued through the Home Office on August 2, 1924 and registered in the Register of Arms in Dublin as follows:

Royal Warrant Government of Northern Ireland
Argent a cross gules, overall on a six pointed star of the field ensigned by an Imperial crown proper a dexter hand couped at the wrist of the second.
Given at our Court of St. James in the 15th year of our reign 2nd August 1924 by His Majesty's command.[2]

This was the same design as the Ulster Banner which had been designed in the previous year.

The supporters were granted in 1925, and consist of a red lion supporting a blue banner bearing a gold harp and crown, and an Irish elk in proper colours, supporting a banner of the arms of the De Burgo Earls of Ulster, the basis for the Flag of Ulster.

The supporters were blazoned as follows:

Dexter a lion gules armed langued and collared or, supporting a flagstaff proper, therefrom flowing to the sinister a banner azure, charged with a harp or, stringed argent, surmounted by an imperial crown proper; Sinister an Irish elk proper, collared or, supporting a like staff, therefrom flowing to the dexter a banner or charged with a cross gules.[3]

In 1971 the College of Arms in London added the compartment on which the supporters stand.[4]

When the Government of Northern Ireland was prorogued in 1972 the arms went out of official use. The grant has not been rescinded, but the arms are considered historical, as the body to which the arms were granted no longer exists and so cannot be used unless regranted to another armiger. The current Northern Ireland Executive does not use a coat of arms.


  1. ^ Susan Hood, Royal Roots, Republican Inheritance - The Survival of the Office of Arms, Dublin, 2002, p.119 - 120
  2. ^ Genealogical Office, Dublin, Register of Arms 111C (Grants M), 1920 -1929, folio 49
  3. ^ Genealogical Office, Dublin, Register of Arms 111C (Grants M), 1920 -1929, folio 66
  4. ^ College of Arms, Ref. 183.321, January 6, 1971

See also



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