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The Earldom of Wessex
New Arms for Sophie's Family

The arms used by the Rhys-Jones ancestors of the Countess of Wessex during at least the last two hundred years were found not to have been recorded at the College of Arms when, before her recent marriage to Prince Edward, the joint representation of the married couple's arms was being examined. Accordingly, new bearings were devised by Peter Gwynne-Jones, Garter King of Arms, to incorporate principal elements of the unrecorded coat with sufficient difference to ensure that they can be seen to be new arms (such difference being the traditional way in which heralds ensure their authority is recognised).

The new blazon (emblazoned here on a lozenge) is ~

Quarterly Gules and Azure a lion rampant regardant within an orle Or.

The colours of the quartered field, red and blue, are the colours of the Royal Fusiliers, the regiment in which the elder brother of Sophie's father, together with several other members of the family, have served. The Lion rampant regardant hints at the arms of Elystan Glodrydd (whose 2nd and 3rd quarters are alleged to have been Gules a lion rampant regardant Argent), claimed as an ancestor.

These new arms have been reported as having been granted to Sophie's father Christopher Rhys-Jones and to his elder brother Theodore also. This suggests that they have perhaps been granted to Sophie's late grandfather, that Theodore will bear them (as the elder son) undifferenced, and that Christopher will bear them with a small crescent for cadency. If this is indeed so, then Sophie should herself bear a crescent, perhaps of silver, just above the lion's head.

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The Earldom of Wessex
© 1999 The Baronage Press Ltd and Pegasus Associates Ltd
Arms for the Earldom of Wessex
proposed by The Baronage Press