The coat of arm of Sweden is formed by the lesser (known as The Three Crowns) and the greater version.
Besides the greater coat of arms being the official national coat of arms, it is also the personal coat of arms of the ruling monarch. Consequently, the ruling monarch can decree this emblem’s use as a personal coat of arms by other members of the Royal House, with the alterations and additions decided by him.
The greater coat of arms consist of a man shield coloured in azure, quartered by a cross and divided into four shields, and an inescutcheon containing the dynastic arms of the Royal House. The main shield has a royal crown on top and is surrounded by the insignia of the Order of the Seraphim. The shield is also supported by two upright lions, crowned and with forked tails.
The Three Crown are in the first and fourth fields. In the second and third fields three white bending streams are shown, with an upright crowned lion displaying red tongue and red claws (This is from the coat of arms of The House of Bjelbo also known as Folkung). For many years the lion has been an important element in Swedish coats of arms.
The inescutcheon (the smaller escutcheaon placed within or superimposed over the main shield of the coat of arms) has the arms for the House of Bernadotte. On the top left of the inescutcheon there is the azure background with an eagle and stars above it. These stars were only introduced as an element in the royal coat of arms in mid-19th century and were not part of the original coat of arms of the House of Bernaditotte.
The Greater Coat of Arms represents Sweden's monarch, and is also utilized on special occasions by the Government and by the Swedish Parliament.
The Greater Coat of Arms was developed in the 1440's as the seal of King Karl Knutsson Bonde. Since that time it has been used ever since. In 1943 it was changed to a degree.
Before 1908, the state of arms could only be changed by royal decree, and then in 1908 there was the first legislation of the state arms in Sweden. From the days of the early reign of Gustav Vasa in 1523, it has been customary in Sweden to display the arms of the ruling dynasty as an inescutcheon in the centre of the Greater Coat of Arms.
Some explanations of terms used in reference to state of arms:
Heraldry is generally referring to the practice of designing, displaying, describing, and recording coats of arms and heraldic badges.
In heraldry, an escutcheon is a shield which forms the main or focal point in an achievement of arms (the shield on which a coat of arms is displayed). The shape of the escutcheon is derived from actual shields used by knights in combat. As combat shields have varied and were developed by region and by era, the shape of escutcheon may also vary slightly. However this shape is generally regarded as a war-like device appropriate for men only. Sometimes provisions or alterations may be done:
•British ladies customarily bear their arms upon a lozenge or diamond-shape.
• Clergymen and ladies in continental Europe bear their arms on a cartouche or oval.
|Lesser coat of arms of the Kingdom of Sweden||Version without the Order of the Seraphim|
|Greater coat of arms of the Kingdom of Sweden||Version without the ermine mantling|
|Version without the ermine mantling||Version without the ermine mantling, the compartment and the supporters|