National Unicorn Day April 9th
“Two versions of the royal arms exist: that used in Scotland gives more emphasis to the Scottish elements, placing the unicorn on the left and giving it a crown, whereas the version used in England and elsewhere gives the English elements more prominence.”
Scottish unicorn, flag and shield carved at Edinburgh Castle
Royal arms of Queen Elizabeth II, as used in England
Royal arms of Queen Elizabeth II as used in Scotland
The Unicorn in the History of Scotland
With Scotland being famed for its love for and long history of myths and legends, it is no surprise that a fabled creature such as the unicorn is Scotland’s national animal. Unicorns have been linked to Scotland for centuries. While the animal is mythological, the ideals it represents are what make it a perfect fit as the national animal for Scotland, and because like this proud beast – Scots would fight to remain unconquered.
The unicorn was first used on the Scottish royal coat of arms by William I in the 12th century. In the 15th century, when King James III was in power, gold coins even appeared with the unicorn on them. When Scotland and England unified under the reign of James VI of Scotland in 1603, the Scottish Royal Arms had two unicorns supporting a shield. When James VI became James I of England and Ireland, he replaced the unicorn on the left of the shield with the national animal of England, the lion, to show that the countries were indeed united.
A new sculpture celebrating Scotland’s national animal was unveiled at Crawick Multiverse last year. The 7ft unicorn sculpture, designed and created by willow artist Woody Fox, takes pride of place within the 55-acre artland in Dumfries & Galloway as Scotland’s links to the mythical creature are celebrated across the country as part of National Unicorn Day (9 April). Photo Via Crawick Multiverse
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