On Saturday night England kick of their Euro 2016 campaign against Russia, and this seems like a good opportunity for us to look at our first international badge on Box to Box Football. Just how much do we all know about the iconic Three Lions that we like to sing so much about? Because it turns out that this particular badge is nearly a thousand years in the making…
To be precise, the presence of the lion on the badge dates back around 900 years ago to the time of King Henry I, who had a lion on his standard. During his reign he married Adeliza of Louvain, whose father also had a lion on his shield, and to commemorate the marriage he added a second lion to his standard.
Following this trend was Henry II who became King in 1154 and was married to Eleanor of Aquitaine who – surprise, surprise – also had a lion for her family crest. Three was not considered a crowd in this instance, although surely people began to consider some variety in their standards? By the end of the century Richard the Lionheart had donned the Three Lions as a symbol for the English throne, and thus it became forever tied with the Royal Arms of England and would later be chosen for many of the sports teams of the country.
There are also ten Tudor Roses on the badge dating back to yet another Henry, this one Henry VII, who introduced them in the aftermath of victory in the War of the Roses in 1485. There are ten to represent each of the regional branches of the Football Association (FA). And of course, there is often a star atop this badge to remind us of our solitary World Cup triumph in 1966. England have never won at the European Championships, but with the young talents of the current team landing in France this week to commence battle, is there a bright future ahead?