Lion and Unicorn

The animosity which existed between these beasts, referred to by Spenser in his Faërie Queene, is allegorical of the animosity which once existed between England and Scotland.

Like as a lyon, whose imperial powre
A prowd rebellious unicorn defyes.

Book ii. canto 5.

Lion and Unicorn.
Ever since 1603 the royal arms have been supported as now by the English lion and Scottish unicorn; but prior to the accession of James I. the sinister supporter was a family badge. Edward III., with whom supporters began, had a lion and eagle; Henry IV., an antelope and swan; Henry V., a lion and antelope; Edward IV., a lion and bull; Richard III., a lion and boar; Henry VII., a lion and dragon; Elizabeth, Mary, and Henry VIII., a lion and greyhound. The lion is dexter —i.e. to the right hand of the wearer or person behind the shield.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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