Published: 29/01/2008 00:00 - Updated: 25/11/2011 19:05

Coat of arms rejected in city status query

INVERNESS cannot have a new coat of arms because it does not have its own council according to Lord Lyon, Keeper of the Records in Scotland. Historian and artist Hector MacDonald, who is a former councillor in Inverness, has designed a coat of arms for Inverness city and applied to Lord Lyon for it to be made official, but was denied. In a letter to 70-year-old Mr MacDonald, the Keeper of the Records states it does not appear that Inverness has achieved any form of local government status and therefore arms cannot be granted to the city as it would not appear to be legal persona. "By all the evidence, we are not a city at all, explained Mr MacDonald. "We don't have any of the credentials of a city. Unlike Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen we don't have a city council. And because we don't have a city council we are not allowed a coat of arms." Mr MacDonald also believes the use of Elizabeth II on the charter is illegal and makes the city status invalid because the Queen is not the second Elizabeth to rule Scotland, only the first. A Buckingham Palace spokesman admitted the Queen usually signs documents in Scotland as 'Elizabeth R' because of the sensitive situation over the Monarchy north of the border. A spokeswoman for the office of Lord Lyon said Inverness, as a city, is not a corporate body. "It [city] is just a name," she stated. "There is nothing to grant arms to. Arms is property that must belong to someone. Highland Council has responsibility for the city of Inverness." Following local government re-organisation, eight district councils and the regional council were superseded by Highland Council and a new coat of arms for the new council was designed. David Stewart, Highlands and Islands Labour MSP, is now writing to Des Browne, the Scottish Secretary, to clarify concerns following a refusal by the Lord Lyon for the creation of a coat of arms. Mr Stewart, who as an MP at the time of the Millennium competition when Inverness won city status, worked hard along with the council to create the first new city in Scotland since Dundee over 100 years ago. "It's important we don't talk down our city status which has had a tremendous benefit to Inverness and the Highlands in terms of tourism and inward investment," he said. "Whilst I note the comments by the Lord Lyon in terms of the coat of arms, that is a separate issue and has no impact on the validity of city status."

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