Kate Middleton's family gets coat of arms

LONDON (Reuters) - Kate Middleton’s family unveiled a new coat of arms on Tuesday commissioned by her father Michael in time for her marriage to Prince William and designed with the approval of England’s senior herald.

The coat of arms features three acorns representing the Middleton children, chosen because the oak tree traditionally symbolises England and strength, and a gold chevron to represent Kate’s mother whose maiden name was Goldsmith.

The colours red and blue are used because of their prominence on the Union Jack flag and the coat of arms is in the shape of a lozenge, suspended from a ribbon to signify Kate is an unmarried daughter.

“Mr and Mrs Middleton and their children took enormous interest in this design and, while its purpose is to provide a traditional heraldic identity for Catherine, as she marries into the Royal Family, the intent was to represent the whole Middleton family together,” said Thomas Woodcock, Garter King of Arms and Senior Herald in England who approved the design.

“Every Coat of Arms has been designed to identify a person, school or organisation, and to last forever: heraldry is Europe’s oldest, most visual and strictly regulated form of identity,” he said.

A coat of arms is granted under the sovereign’s authority and was originally designed to identify armoured warriors in battle. Nowadays the heraldic design is used to symbolise a family’s identity and values.

All three of Michael Middleton’s children will be entitled to use the coat of arms and Kate’s brother James will pass on that right to his descendants.

Reporting by Nia Williams, editing by Paul Casciato