It seems ironic that as official disinterest – disdain, even – for family arms rules the day in many places, local and national arms in contrast receive a great deal of attention from the powers that be, and do so despite the financial crisis affecting most countries with heraldic traditions.
The latest news in this regard comes from Catalonia, where the royal coat of arms on the façade of the regional parliament is to be replaced with the arms of the Kingdom of Aragon. Barcelona daily La Vanguardia posted the image below showing what the façade looked like in 1932, what the armorial stone looks like now, and what it will look like after the substitution.
Spanish King Felipe V has long been a bogeyman in orthodox Catalan history for his role in abolishing Catalonia’s ancient freedoms after the Catalans backed the losing side in the War of the Spanish Succession – for those unfamiliar with the Decretos de Nueva Planta, they were to the Catalans a bit like the 1707 Act of Union to Alex Salmond.
That said, it’s interesting that this decision is being spun as covering up the arms of Felipe V, rather than simply covering up the ‘Spanish Royal Arms’ or ‘the arms of the King of Spain’. Despite this marketing strategy it seems unlikely that the timing is purely coincidental, given recent events such as the decision by the council of the catalan town of Berga to declare King Juan Carlos persona non grata after his recent hunting mishap. But of course, King Juan Carlos’ arms look nothing at all like those of his politically incorrect ancestor and predecessor on the throne, so as long as everyone’s clear that it’s not his arms being replaced, but those of a King who’s been dead for 266 years, there shouldn’t be any controversy.