Officer of arms

state officer for heraldic, armorial or ceremonial duties

An officer of arms is someone who is chosen by a sovereign or state to do some important jobs relating to:

  • heraldry and coats of arms
  • arranging and conducting ceremonies of state
  • keeping and interpreting heraldic and genealogical records.

In Scotland the officers of arms maintain the old job of a herald - passing on royal messages. Three days after parliament is dissolved in London the royal proclamation is read out at the Mercat Cross in Edinburgh. They wait three days because this is how long it used to take to get from London to Edinburgh by horse.