The Three Lions Crest is one of the most iconic emblems representing England. The symbol has its roots in a similar crest used by William The Conqueror, the first Norman king of England, who came to power in 1066 AD. The crest originally had only two lions and specifically represented King William’s original realm of Normandy.

King Henry I adopted the crest between 1118 and 1120 AD. Henry’s solitary male heir died at sea in 1120, prompting him to remarry to produce a new heir. Henry was likely the first Norman king to actually speak English fluently.

Three Lions Crest
Three Lions Crest

A third lion was added during the reign of King Richard I, who reigned from 1189 to 1199. The third lion represents the Duchy of Aquitaine in France, which he also held. The lion has long been used in royal symbolism to represent strength, courage, beauty, and honour.

The three lions appear on many English buildings, emblems, documents, and other artifacts. In modern times, it is famously used as the badge for the English football team.

Popular Interpretations of The Three Lions Crest

  • Each of the three lions originally represented a realm ruled by the Norman king Richard I: Normandy, Aquitaine, and England.
  • The lion has been used since ancient times to represent bravery, honour, beauty, and strength.
  • The crest appears in many English flags, emblems, and other iconography, typically incorporating other royal heraldry to adapt to English rulers’ various realms and administrations.

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