Acorn theme for Kate's coat of arms
A coat of arms has been created for Kate Middleton and will be featured on a souvenir programme of the royal wedding.
The Middleton family's heraldic design was commissioned by Kate's father Michael in time for the marriage of his daughter to Prince William.
The move signifies the growing social status of Kate's parents and also the practical need for Miss Middleton, a future Queen, to have a coat of arms.
The design incorporates an acorn sprig - one for each of the Middletons' three children - an idea suggested by Kate. The oak tree is a traditional symbol of England and strength, and is a feature of west Berkshire where the family have lived for more than 30 years.
At the centre of the coat of arms is an inverted "v" or chevron coloured gold which represents Kate's mother Carole Middleton whose maiden name was Goldsmith. Above and below this feature are white chevronels to symbolise peaks and mountains, reflecting the family's love of the Lake District and skiing.
Thomas Woodcock, Garter Principal King of Arms, from the College of Arms in the City of London, sat down with Kate's parents to create the design which cost £4,400.
He said: "It's not compulsory but as their daughter is marrying into the Royal Family she will have a need probably to use a coat of arms."
He added that Miss Middleton could have been granted her own heraldic design but her father commissioned the College in his name so all the family could use it.
A version of the coat and arms which can only be used by Kate or her sister Pippa, as it denotes a Middleton spinster, will be printed on the back of the souvenir programme while William's will be on the front. The booklet will include the wedding order of service and be available on the day of the nuptials.
Following the Westminster Abbey ceremony, the coat of arms of William and his fiancee will be combined - something known as "impaled arms".