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Museum of the Manchester Regiment Object Focus

The Fleur-de-Lys

Fleur-de-Lys The Fleur-de-lys is an old symbol with many meanings. It goes back 1000’s of years and has been used by many different cultures. It is a symbol that continues to be used through out the world today

 What is the Fleur-de-lys?

Fleur-de-lys is a French term and means Flower of the Lily.

Egyptian God OsirisThe Fleur-de-lys and the Ancient Egyptians

In Ancient Egypt the Fleur-de-lys was linked to the Egyptian God Osiris’ crown known as Atef, with its three points.

From Egypt to France

Old French FlagThe emblem was taken from Egypt and used by the Roman Empire. From Rome the symbol spread across Europe. It has been linked with the French kings and queens ever since. Proof of this dates back as far as 1147. The Fleur-de-lys was removed from the French National Flag after the French Revolution when the Tricolour was introduced.

The Fleur-de-lys in the British Army

The Fleur-de-lys has been used in the British army for centuries.

Eighteenth battalion wooden carvingIt was a symbol used by the 63rd Regiment of Foot from the 1750’s until 1881. Many people think the 63rd Regiment adopted it when they defeated the French Army in the West Indies in the 18th and early 19th centuries

In 1881 the British Army was re-organised and the 63rd Regiment of Foot became the 1st Battalion of the Manchester Regiment. This new regiment continued to use the fleur-de lys in many ways. They used it on their uniform, displayed it on the plates they ate from and carved it into Cap badgeobjects they used to represent them.

In 1923 the Fleur-de-lys was officially approved as the Manchester Regiment cap badge. When the Manchester Regiment joined with the King’s Liverpool Regiment in 1958, the fleur-de-lys became part of their tradition too 

Today soldiers of the Duke of Lancaster’s Regiment continue with many of the Manchester Regiment traditions this includes wearing the fleur-de-lys on their uniform buttons.

Why not visit the Museum of the Manchester Regiment today and see how many Fleur-de-lys you can spot.

This brief history of the fleur-de-lys was researched and compiled by Mrs Kate Wood (Museum Volunteer – May 2009).