Dieu et mon droit
Seeing the Queen's coat of arms on the Royal Opera House, I thought how many people see it, without realising how much it is a distillation of the history and tradition of our country.
It's been around one way and another for 900 years, since Richard the Lionheart. In the centre shield, the three lions represent England, the single lion Scotland, and the harp, Ireland. Around them is the motto of the most exclusive club in the land - the Order of the Garter - Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pense - Shame to him who evil thinks. There are 26 members - the Monarch, the Prince of Wales and 24 chosen by the Monarch. These are the folks one up from the Knights Templar
And underneath it, the words that sum up the monarchy - Dieu et mon droit - God and my right.