Three lions on a shirt - The history of the badge

Ever wondered how the three lions got on the shirt? Here's the low down on the evolution of the England football shirt crest.

The first lion came courtesy of Henry I (known as 'The Lion of England') who's flag featured the noble beast, back in 1100.

In 1135 Henry I married Adeliza and the union meant that a second lion was added to the standard, to reflect the lion Adeliza's father had on his shield

Fast foward to 1154 and marriage again increased the lion count; two lions turned into three following Henry II and Eleanor of Aquitaine's coupling, as she too had a lion on her family crest.

Between 1189 and 1199 Richard the Lionheart continued to use the three golden lions on a scarlet background as a symbol of the English throne.  Interestingly heraldry experts suggest that all along, they were in fact leopards!  Described as ‘Gules, three lions passant guardant' on the King's Royal Arms, when translated into English, this actually means 'three identical gold leopards' 

In 1863 The FA was formed and they based their logo on the royal crest.  Since then the football shirt badge has remained pretty constant, only changing once in 1949, when they removed the crown on top of the lions to try and differentiate it from the England cricket team logo. 


"Three lions on a shirt, Jules Remet still gleaming, thirty years of hurt, never stopped me dreaming....."


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