Fleur de Lis
French for "flower of the lily", the fleur-de-lis (⚜) is a common symbol used in medieval heraldry, often to signify purity (in some cases, it was associated with the Virgin Mary).
The symbol was used in many countries, but is most notable with France, because of their common use of gold fleur-de-lis on royal blue backgrounds. It was used on their flags, on their coats of arms, and as Symbol Motif Clothing
on the kings' royal robes
and the queens' Pimped Out Dresses
(as in the picture on the right and this one◊
The actual French spelling is Fleur de lys.
In modern fiction, it's often a motif to refer to the grander styles of old. In Historical Romance, it's often used, sometimes correctly and sometimes not, to prove that the Love Interest
is actually hidden royalty or nobility.
May occasionally show up in particularly creative Wingding Eyes
Note that in anime
the white lily motif
refers to something else
See also Four-Leaf Clover
Anime and Manga
- The Death Note anime gives Misa fleur-de-lis earrings, though they were crosses in the manga.
- The Ashford Academy insignia in Code Geass is a fleur-de-lis. These motifs show up in several other places as well, particularly around the Britannian royals (since it is also a symbol of royalty). The emblem that the Emperor and Knights of the Rounds wear is a type of fleur-de-lis, as is the symbol Prince Clovis wore, that is also seen on the Purebloods' uniforms.
- The protagonist PMC Tekkadan (Iron Flower) in Mobile Suit Gundam: Iron-Blooded Orphans has a stylized fleur-de-lis as their emblem.
- The call girl service in L.A. Confidential was called "Fleur-de-lis", with the slogan "Whatever You Desire".
- An important plot point in The Three Musketeers is that Milady has her shoulder branded with a fleur-de-lis, which marks her as a convicted felon.
- Used in The Da Vinci Code as the symbol of The Priory of Sion.
- The name of a character in The Hunchback of Notre Dame.
- In Duty Calls, the Order of the White Rose (a Sororitas chapter) uses a lot of fleur de lis. One Battle Sister he meets has a Fleur de Lis tattoo on her forehead, and they're all over the convent as well.
- In The Call of Cthulhu the Mad Artist Henry Antony Wilcox lives in the Fleur-de-lys Studios building, which is a real place in Providence. This, in turn was the inspiration behind "Fleur-de-lys Cigarettes", the fictitious sponsor of the HP Lovecraft Historical Society's Dark Adventure Radio Theater series of audio dramas.
- In Moonlight, Mick's ex-wife Coraline had a Fleur-de-Lis on her shoulder. She told him it was the brand of a prostitute, but he later learned it was a mark that she was part of the French Royal family, who had been vampires at the time of the Revolution.
- The 2013 CSI Miami season finale had a serial killer use a spraypainted one of these as the taunting clue to the next victim.
- On Merlin, the spokes of King Arthur's crown were fleur-de-lis.
- Japanese hip-hop group Dragon Ash have the fleur-de-lis as a symbol, and have several songs with lily imaginery. Even one of their albums is explicitly titled "Lily of the Valley"
- In Hype The Time Quest, the hero wears the livery of king Taskan IV: white and blue, with a gold fleur de lis. As he is sent into the past, he is always mistaken for a foreigner, as previous kings had other liveries. Hype stumbles upon a mythical armor in the past with this livery, during the reign of Taskan II. When he meets not-yet-king Taskan IV about a century later, it turns out the prince (who is still a child) like the livery so much he decides to make it his own when he becomes king; thus, Hype's livery is actually his own.. His fighting his evil double has a black and white livery with an upside-down grey fleur de lis.
- Some of the Castlevania games have this on the walls in some areas.
- Kingdom Hearts uses this symbol as a motif, stylising both the Heartless and Nobody emblems after it. Also, it features on Sora's Valour Form, one of his Super Modes.
- The Third Street Saints use it as their symbol.
- In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "The Cutie Pox", Apple Bloom develops a cutie mark shaped like this, causing her to speak French.
- Later, in "Sweet and Elite", there's an elegant socialte pony with three fleurs-de-lis as her cutie mark. Her name is appropriately Fleur Dis Lee.
- Princesses Celestia and Luna have this integrated into the 'boots' they wear as part of their royal regalia. Nightmare Moon also has it as part of the design of her collar as well.
- Lancer, from My Little Pony Tales, had a Fleur de Lis as his cutie mark. He turns out to be quite wealthier than he lets on, as well as, while not quite pure, the Only Sane Man amongst the trio of boys.
- The French fleur-de-lis first was used as a royal symbol in the 10th century and since Louis VIII (died 1226) the blue shield covered in fleurs-de-lis (Azure semé-de-lis Or) became the French royal arms. In 1340 King Edward III of England quartered the English arms with those of France to illustrate his claim to the French throne, and thus the fleur-de-lis became part of the English and later British arms until the claim was finally renounced by King George III in 1802. Interestingly, when King Charles V of France altered the royal arms to just three fleurs-de-lis on blue in 1376 (allegedly to honour the Holy Trinity), the claimants across the Channel followed suit. As branches of the French royal house got onto thrones of other countries, the French arms also sometimes ware added to the arms of these states. This is currently the case with Spain, where the king is a Bourbon descended from King Louis XIV of France. As the traditional colour of the House of Bourbon is white, the French naval ensign during the ancien régime was white covered with golden fleurs-de-lis.
- The French Republics got rid of the fleur-de-lis, as did Napoleon Bonaparte, who changed the French arms to a golden, Roman-style eagle, and used gold bees as his new dynastic symbol. The latter stemmed from an archeological discovery: when a Merovingian royal tomb was opened, decorations that were identified as bees were discovered in it. In 1814 and 1815, as Napoleon and Louis XVIII kept moving in and out, the staff of the royal palaces became very adept at transforming the omnipresent golden bees into fleurs-de-lis and and vice versa.
- Many French cities' coats of arms feature gold fleurs-de-lys on blue in the chief, symbolizing their status as a "bonne ville" (good town), which dates back to the ancien régime.
- Once French kings had decided on golden fleurs-de-lis on blue as their arms, these were also retroactively applied to the older monarchs by heralds. One interesting case of this is the arms thus given to Charlemagne, from whom both the French and German monarchs derived their succession: A shield bisected vertically, one half showing the French lilies on blue, the other half of the black eagle of the Kingdom of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire. These arms are still currently used as arms of the bishop of Aachen in Germany, in whose cathedral Charlemagne is buried.
- The fleur-de-lis is a general symbol for the city of New Orleans. It's on the city flag, buses, trash cans, etc. Even the New Orleans Saints use it as the symbol on their helmets.
- And since Hurricane Katrina, it's found as a tattoo on every other person you meet. It certainly saved at least a couple of local tattoo parlors in the aftermath.
- It's also widely used in St. Louis, another city with a lot of French heritage.
- Also used in Louisville, Kentucky, for the same reason. Noticing a pattern here?
- Within Canada, the Fleur-de-lis symbolizes Quebec, as well as French-Canadian people across the country
- The fleur-de-lis appears in the Canadian coat of arms in the shield, supporters (flag held by one supporter) and the compartment, all as a symbol of the French-Canadian with the one in the shield referring specifically to Quebec.
- The province of Quebec uses the fleur-de-lis on their flag, coat of arms and license plates
- Quebecois UFC welterweight champion Georges Saint-Pierre has one tattooed on the back of his right calf.
- The Quebec Nordiques hockey club, founding member of the World Hockey Association, added a fleur-de-lis to each shoulder of its jerseys in 1974, and redesigned their jerseys to be primarily blue and white the following season, adding fleur-de-lis along the waistline for a total of eight. They would keep that look throughout their time in the NHL. Their planned 1995 redesign only kept the shoulder emblems, but those jerseys would never hit the ice due to the swift sale and relocation of the team to Colorado that offseason.
- The French city of Lille's coat of arms shows a single silver fleur-de-lis on red; this however is a case of "speaking arms" (a pun on Latin lilium "lily", which sounds a bit like "Lille") and dates back to before the city becoming French.
- The city and republic of Florence in Tuscany uses a white (silver) shield with a red fleur-de-lis of a distinctive design (with added stamens) as its arms.
- The arms of another Italian city, Trieste, subvert the trope. What looks very much like a silver fleur-de-lis on red is actually the head of a glaive (it's meant to be the head of the lance of St. Sergius).
- The symbol of the Boy Scouts and other scouting organizations in many countries. Scouting's World Crest is a silver fleur-de-lis surrounded by a rope tied at the bottom in a square knot, on a purple background.
- The old flag and coat of arms of Bosnia. This is distinct from the flag and arms of the modern country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is different.
- Notably, this was taken from the Medieval Kings of Bosnia, who even used the same colors as France. Oddly, the adoption of the fleur-de-lis by both monarchies was completely independent.
- Pink Fleur de lys are one of the iconic symbols of the "Stade Français", one of the two Parisian rugby teams.
- The French Foreign Legion, which was founded under King Louis Philippe, has as its symbol a seven-flamed grenade strongly resembling a fleur-de-lis.
- The far right French party Action Française, being monarchist, uses a yellow fleur-de-lis over blue as its symbol.
- The two leading merchant and banker families of the city of Augsburg in the late middle ages and renaissance have fleurs-de-lis in their arms. The Fugger arms are halved, showing a golden lily on blue and a blue lily on gold, while the Welser arms consist of a bisected fleur-de-lis, one half red on silver, the other silver on red.