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Category: Badges

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The Crowned Lion on Crown badge: a history

On many badges, British, Colonial, Australian and New Zealand, there appears a crowned lion on a crown. It forms part of the Royal Arms of the UK (shown left).
Note the blue (purple) Garter (belt) which also is seen on many badges. Royal NZ Engineers (right) is one example

Note the 2 mottoes, both in French NOT Latin.

'Honi soit qui mal y pense' (Shame on him who thinks this evil) Dieu et Mon Droit  ("God and my right") is the motto of the Sovereign and dates from the time of King Henry V (reigned 1413-1422).  
BRITISH LION, Crowned. The Lion is the emblem of England. It is now, on badges, actually a "lion passant gardant" - a walking lion, looking out at you full face, and was first used by Rollo, Duke of Normandy (father of William the Conqueror, who added the second lion to the Royal Coat of Arms for England.)

The third was added by Henry II, and Henry VIII added a crown to the lion. 

In heraldry, the lion stands for "deathless courage" and the lion passant gardant for "resolution and prudence" 

  • In armies of the British Empire & Commonwealth the Crowned Lion on Crown badge has been used on the badges of Field Marshal, General Officers, Brigadiers and Colonels.
<< This is the Crowned Lion on Crown as used during the reign of Queen Victoria. In many ways the Australian military traditions do not go any further back than that period.

Embroidered Brigadier's badge, 2004 >>

Field Marshal
  • The only Field Marshal currently on the Army List is HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh so the crossed batons badge of the Field Marshal is rarely seen in Australia.
  • General Officer's hat badge, with Tudor (King's) Crown Queens Crown (St Edward's Crown) version also available
  • The Crowned Lion on Crown badge of Brigadiers & Colonels during the reign of George V, (WW1) and George VI. Now with a St Edward's (Queen's) Crown.

  • It is the Crowned Lion on Crown that forms the centre of the Victoria Cross

  • Hat badge of Australian Staff Corps Officers between 1921 & 1930. The words "Staff Corps" are on a blue enameled label.
  • This Australian Staff Corps badge was introduced in 1930. For a short time it was worn with red enamel between the arches of the crown. Afterwards it was bronze until 1941.
  • This WW2 era General Service belt buckle has the Crowned (Tudor or King's) Crown and the motto  "Dieu Et Mon Droit" (God and My Right)

Size; W:3 & 5/8" x D:5 & 2/8" inches. The E II R (QEII) version of the crowned lion

Arms Without the Crowned Lion

The arms with helmet, mantling and Royal Crest (crowned lion) are the personal arms of the monarch. The arms with a large crown replacing the helmet, mantling and Royal Crest are the state arms of the United Kingdom. (Tom Gregg, Mishawaka, Indiana, USA)
  • Some British Units also use the crowned lion on their Unit badge.
  • One example is the Royal Marines badges shown here.


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Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces