Azure 3 Fleurs-de-Lis Or

The arms of France, since the late 12th century, have been Azure, a semis of fleurs-de-lis or, changed in 1376 to Azure, three fleurs-de-lis or.

These arms appear elsewhere in Europe, either as the arms of families, or as quarters. In a number of cases, they can be shown to be augmentations of honor, that is, concessions made by a French king, entitling a family to use the French arms as a mark of honor to reward the actions of a member of that family. For some families, the quarter of France indicated that they had once been allied to the royal family of France in marriage. In other cases, it just seems to be a coincidence that the coat of arms of that family happens to be the same as that of France. Here are some of the examples I was able to document.

Augmentations of Honor

  • Albret: old and powerful family from the South-West of France. In 1389 Charles d'Albret, comte de Dreux, was allowed by his maternal cousin the king Charles VI in 1389 to quarter his arms (Gules plain) with those of France (see for example the arms of cardinal d'Albret from his 15th c. tomb in Santa Maria in Aracoeli, Rome). The lineage became extinct in 1676. The family of Podenas made a dubious claim to descend from the d'Albret, and placed the arms of Albret (with the quarter of France) in an escutcheon of pretence. The arms of Henri d'Albret, king of Navarre can be seen impaled with those of his wife Marguerite de France (sister of François I) in this 16th c. illumination from a Library of Congress exhibit. Their grandson was Henri IV, who was king of Navarre through his mother and king of France through his father.
  • Douglas, duke of Touraine: was probably authorized by Charles VII to add a quarter of France to his arms sometime around 1421. This Scotsman was also made duke of Touraine and peer of the realm. His issue became extinct in 1440. The circumstances are discussed elsewhere.
  • Stuart of Darnley, seigneur d'Aubigny: was authorized by Charles VII in 1428 to add a quarter of France to his arms. The family settled in France, later returned to Scotland, and became extinct in 1672. In the 16th c., a bordure gules with buckles or was added to the quarter of France. The circumstances are also discussed elsewhere.
  • Kennedy of Bargany: this Scotsman was also authorized by Charles VII around 1424 to add a quarter of France to his arms. The descendants, the Kennedy of Bonnane, still used those arms as late as the early 20th c. The head of the family now lives in Australia. The details are again elsewhere.
  • Barbazan: Sire Arnaud-Guilhem de Barbazan, a knight from Gascony, proved a valiant defender of the French throne against the English. He died in battle in 1431, and on May 10, 1434 was posthunously given the right to use the arms of France as his own, without any difference (as well as a burial in Saint-Denis and the title of "chevalier sans reproche"). His only daughter had married the sire d'Estrac but died without heirs. His niece and heir Anne married Bérault, baron de Faudoas, counselor and chambellan of Charles VII, who impaled his arms (azure a cross or) with those of his wife. The impaled arms were used by his heirs, including Catherine, who married Antoine de Rochechouart, seigneur de Saint-Amant, in 1517. He inherited the name and arms, and henceforth his issue bore the name of Rochechouart-Faudoas. His male descent still existed in the 18th century, but they apparently used a quarterly of Rochechouart and Faudoas; the line died in 1791. On the other hand, a junior branch of the Faudoas family used the arms impaled Faudoas and France, even though they were not lineally related to Barbazan. That family became extinct in 1844.
  • Medici (Florence): the arms of the famous Medici family were or six balls gules when Louis XI of France allowed them to change the ball in chief to azure three fleurs-de-lis or. The lineage became extinct with the last grand-duke of Tuscany in 1737.
  • d'Estaing (extinct 1794): France ancient, a chief or. Granted by Philippe II in 1214, after Deodac d'Estaing saved the king's life during the battle of Bouvines when he fell from his horse (another story is that d'Estaing retrieved the king's shield, who then gave it to him). The semy was later reduced to three fleurs-de-lys when the arms of France changed in the 14th c. The family became extinct in 1794 with the execution of the admiral d'Estaing, who had fought victoriously against the British during the American war of Independence. The French President Valéry Giscard d'Estaing is not related by blood: French law allows a family to change its name to that of an extinct family, which is what his grandfather did in the 1930s by adding d'Estaing to his name.
  • Ferrara (Italy): France, a bordure indented or and gules. See the arms of Este from the villa d'Este, Tivoli). Granted by Charles VI to Nicola d'Este, duke of Ferrara.
  • Goulaine (Brittany): per pale England and France dimidiated. Supposedly granted by the kings of England and France to Mathieu, lord of Goulaine, a Briton lord and childhood friend of Geoffrey son of Henri II of England. He served as mediator between the two kings during disputes over Brittany on several occasions between 1169 and 1185. In 1180, he was mandated by the pope to help bring about a peace treaty between England and France, and upon a successful completion of his mission he was granted by both kings his arms. The family is still represented.
  • Tournon (Dauphiné): per pale France ancient and gules a lion passant or. This family is mentioned in the 11th century and has a continuous line of descent since the 14th c. The origin of the France ancient coat is unknown, and it was assumed that it was a royal grant. The main line died in 1644, the Tournon-Simiane branch died in 1912.

Alliances

  • La Trémoille
  • Rohan
  • Cerda, duke of Medina-Celi (Spain)
  • Guénégault
  • Coincidences

    • Montgomerie: discussed elsewhere.
    • Brousset: bears quarterly, 1 and 4 argent a lion azure, armed and tongued gules, crowned or, 2 and 3 azure three fleurs-de-lis or; overall a rose gules on the partition line per pale in point. These arms were born by a Jehan de Brousset, knight of Malta, in 1517. The family still existed in 1789 in the province of Orange. (See Jougla de Morenas, La Chesnaye-Desbois).
    • Bischopink (Münster): cited in La Chesnaye-Desbois and Rietstap as bearing azure three fleurs-de-lis or.
    • Kolzenberg (Prussia): Azure three fleurs-de-lis or. The family only manifested itself in the 19th c., members of the nobility of Prussia. (Rietstap, Siebmacher).
    • Pistorius (Speier, Westphalia): azure three fleurs-de-lis or in La Chesnaye-Desbois, Rietstap. Inducted in the nobility of the Holy German Empire 17 Oct 1710.
    • Veriña (Asturias): quarterly 1 and 4 azure three fleurs-de-lis or, 2 and 3 azure three bars wavy argent. (cited in Rietstap, Fernando Gonzalez-Doria).

    Cities

    A number of French cities have a chief of France.

    • Abbeville: azure three bends or, a chief of France ancient. Concession of June 19, 1363.
    • Aigle (Normandie): or a double-headed eagle sabel, on a chief France modern.
    • Amboise: or two pales gules, on a chief France modern.
    • Amiens: gules a vine argent, on a chief France ancient.
    • Angers: gules a chief France modern, over all a key argent per pale .
    • Aubigny (Berry): gules a tower or, the port-holes and gate azure, on a chief France modern.
    • Auray (Bretagne): gules an ermine passant proper with a mantle ermine attached to its neck, on a chief France modern.
    • Bergerac (Périgord): per pale France ancient and azure a dragon or langued gules.
    • Béziers: argent three bars gules, a chief France modern.
    • Boulogne: gules a swan argent, on a chief France modern.
    • du Bourg (Guyenne): France.
    • Bourges: azure three sheep argent, attired sable, gorged gules, belled or, each on a mound vert, within a bordure engrailed gules, on a chief France modern.
    • Brest (Bretagne): per pale France and Bretagne (ermine plain).
    • Brisach (Alsace): gules a mount of six hillocks argent, on a chief France modern.
    • Carbonne (Languedoc): France.
    • Chartres: gules three ancient coins of the counts of Chartres argent, on a chief France modern.
    • Châtre (Berry): gules a cross anchory vair, on a chief France modern.
    • Clermont (Languedoc): argent a fess gules between two ermine spots sable and a torteau, on a chief France modern.
    • Gisors: or a stag lodged gules, on a chief France modern.
    • Le Havre de Grace (Normandie): gules a salamander or, on a chief France modern.
    • Royal Abbeys

      Several French abbies had the arms of France as their own arms: Beaugerais, Bellozanne (Rouen), Blangi (Saint-Paul, Artois), Grestain (Ponteau-sur-Mer, Normandie), Hermières (Lagny), Notre-Dame d'Hierre.


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      François Velde

      Last modified: Oct 04, 1999