Facts about heraldry in Scotland

• A member of a Clan or Family is given permission to wear the Crest of the Chief of the Clan or Head of the Family surrounded by a strap and buckle.

• In Scotland there are no "Family Arms". A Coat of Arms belongs to an individual.

•The only way to obtain an authentic Scottish Coat of Arms is by petitioning The Lord Lyon King of Arms who is authorised by Her Majesty the Queen to grant Arms in Scotland.

• The Office of Lord Lyon is one of the oldest heraldic appointments in the world and its origins can be traced back to the High Sennachie of the Celts.

Anyone living in Scotland may petition the Lord Lyon for a Grant of Arms provided they are "virtuous and well deserving".

• This also applies to anyone domiciled in Her Majesty's overseas realms or in the Commonwealth who are of Scottish descent.

Nationals of other countries who can trace their ancestry back to Scotland may petition for a retrospective Grant of Arms for a Scottish ancestor. They can then ask for these Arms to be matriculated in their own name provided they share the same surname.

Corporate Bodies (i.e. a group of people banded together for a common purpose such as commercial companies and clan societies) may also petition for a Grant of Arms.

• Once Arms have been granted they become the property of the Petitioner - therefore the Arms of a Chief of a Clan or Head of a Family are his or her personal property and cannot be used by anyone else.

• It is illegal to use a bogus Coat of Arms or to use someone else's Arms.

• Authentic clan merchandise showing the Crest Badge is approved by the Standing Council of Scottish Chiefs.

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