Last modified: 2003-01-03 by elias granqvist
Keywords: sweden | royal coat of arms | state arms | riksvapen | stora riksvapnet | lilla riksvapnet | crown: royal | crowns: 3 (yellow) |
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Greater state arms (stora riksvapnet)
Smaller state arms (lilla riksvapnet)Greater state arms developed since 15th Century, present design adopted in 1844,
John Andrew Lowe, 15 October 1995
The present Greater State Arms have had the same form since 1844, when King Oscar I, who had just succeded his father Carl XIV Johan (the former French Marshal Jean Baptiste Bernadotte, also former Prince of Ponte Corvo), changed it back to the form it had had before the union with Norway (1814-1905). In the first years of union with Norway, the greater Swedish state arms were divided into three fields, the first for Sweden (the three crowns), the second for the Folkunga dynasty (lion on streams) and the third for Norway (lion with axe).
When the arms were changed back, Union Arms were also created. These looked like the Greater State Arms of Sweden but had the arms of Norway in the heraldic left half of the shield and two royal crowns on top of the shield. These arms were only to be used in matters regarding both of the two realms.
The first act of law on the state arms were issued in 1908 (before this, the state arms were changed by royal decrees). The only change made in 1908 was, that from then on the shield is only surrounded by the Order of the Seraphim, the highest ranking royal order of Sweden (while before 1908, the shield could be surrounded by all royal orders).
The Greater State Arms are also personal arms of H.M. King Carl XVI Gustaf.
You can read more about these arms at http://www.users.wineasy.se/elias/svapene.htm .
Elias Granqvist, 8 July 2000
The royal crown upon the shield denotes royal worthiness. The royal crown is also a sign for the state, which means that state activity carried on under a certain symbol can have the royal crown in this symbol, as for instance the royal crown can be found in the arms of the Customs Authority. State authorities and civil service departments can also use the smaller state arms with addition of special symbols denoting their activity, as in the arms of the Police, where the three crowns-shield is accompanied by oak leaves and fasceses.
Elias Granqvist, http://www.users.wineasy.se/elias/lvapene.htm