Coat of arms

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A coat of arms is a unique design painted on a shield. These designs may be inherited, meaning that they pass from a father to his children. In the Middle Ages, these designs were shown on real shields, but today they are usually only drawn or painted on the paper that makes them legal which is called a grant of arms. The grant of arms is usually allowed only when it is given by the government of a country or its agent. In England, this is called the College of Arms and in Scotland is called the Lord Lyon.

Coats of arms are normally issued for real people but nowadays lots of countries and businesses also have coats of arms. Each symbol on the coat of arms will represent something that has an important meaning to that person, country or company.

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