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The Arms and Motto

In a document dated 1st January 1449, King Henry VI assigned as arms to Eton College:

“On a field sable three lily-flowers argent, intending that Our newly-founded College, lasting for ages to come, whose perpetuity We wish to be signified by the stability of the sable colour, shall bring forth the brightest flowers redolent of every kind of knowledge, to which also that We may impart something of royal nobility, which may declare the work truly royal and illustrious, We have resolved that that portion of the arms, which by royal right belong to Us in the kingdoms of France and England, be placed on the chief of the shield, per pale azure with a flower of the French, and gules with a leopard passant or”.

The grant was attested by the Great Seal of England and is preserved in the College archives.

Eton's arms are a registered trade mark, as are the names 'Eton' and 'Eton College'.

The grant of arms to King’s College Cambridge followed the Eton grant word for word, except that three roses argent were substituted for the three lily-flowers.

The School Motto

Eton’s motto is often thought to be Floreat Etona, which can be translated as “May Eton Flourish” or “Let Eton Flourish”; but Esto perpetua ("May it last forever") came into usage if anything a little earlier.   In fact, neither phrase is officially a motto; they are unofficial creations that, over time, have stuck.