President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson was awarded the Order of the Elephant in 2017. In a ceremony at Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød last Monday, the president’s personal coat of arms was unveiled.
“To thine own self be true”
President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson was awarded Denmark’s Order of the Elephant by the queen during a state visit in 2017. The Order of the Elephant is Denmark’s highest-ranked honour, which is almost exclusively awarded to royalty and heads of state today.
For over 300 years, it has been customary for every knight of the order to have a personal coat of arms made by the royal heraldic painter, which is hung in the Knight’s Chapel at Frederiksborg Castle in Hillerød. On Monday, Guðni’s escutcheon was unveiled and hung in a ceremony attended by the president and First Lady Eliza Reid.
As noted on the website of the royal house, the coat of arms consists of six elements inspired by Iceland and the president’s life:
“The colours of the shield are that of the Icelandic flag. The open book refers to the study of history, university studies, and the president’s civilian career as a historian. The hammer resting atop the book is Mjölnir, representing strength, sport, and health. The waves symbolise the intertwining of Iceland’s fate and its surrounding sea while also evoking the president’s studies abroad (and the fact that he found his wife on the other side of the Atlantic). The maple leaf refers to the First Lady’s Canadian ancestry. Finally, five anchors represent the president’s children.
The slogan on the coat of arms is TIBI IPSI ESTO FIDELIS, which translates to “Be true to yourself.”