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snakesnladders
18-09-2009, 12:12 PM
does anyone here know the significance of the chained unicorn sitting alongside the lion with the crown on the british royal family crest?

whats with the unicorn? (i like unicorns. why is it chained?)

swethirte
18-09-2009, 12:15 PM
does anyone here know the significance of the chained unicorn sitting alongside the lion with the crown on the british royal family crest?

whats with the unicorn? (i like unicorns. why is it chained?)

The unicorn comes from the Scottish royal arms, and the lion from the English. I don't know why they had it though.

merlincove
18-09-2009, 12:34 PM
whats with the unicorn? (i like unicorns. why is it chained?)

it's chained to show subordination, that it has been duly conquered and subverted, that it's power has been taken away. It represents, i think, the Scottish throne. It can also represent 'all that is sacred' - remember Harry Potter and the blood of the unicorn and what it represented?

The unicorn is widely seen to represent purtity and divinity, freedom and beauty chaining it is perhaps the fouilest thing you could do to it.

keystone
18-09-2009, 12:46 PM
In ampification of what merlincove has just written chaining animals in heraldry is a common practice and many of the chained animals such as bulls, deers, lions, griffins, and unicorns are strong or swift and often ferocious. Its not necessarily enslavement either since the chain's end is generally not tied down. If fetters were originally intended, the animal obviously got away bringing along both collar and chain. Moreover, these chained animals retain a independent appearance almost as if they had voluntarily chosen to serve the bearer of the arms concerned. The chain seems to convey a notion of discipline, but without diminishment.

In a socio-psychological context, the chain symbolizes the need to adapt to life within society and one's capacity of integration within a group. It has been suggested that when the chained unicorn appears as supporters of the royal arms of Scotland, England or Canada, the most plausible explanation is the unicorn serving the sovereign:

"One Scottish armorist, recalling that the unicorn would rather die than be brought to subjection, thought that the creature was intended to declare Scotland's sovereign independence, but he offered no explanation of its collar and chain. These would seem to denote that the beast had been tamed and its haughty spirit bent to serve the Scottish King."

Source: "The Queen's Beasts" described by H. Standford London, Norfolk Herald Extraordinary (London: Newman Neame, c. 1953) p. 52.

Cheers