Arms of England
Three gilded passant-gardant lions (passant means walking; gardant means looking out of the shield) reinforce the presence of the building’s primary tenant, the British monarchy. Lions were first used to decorate the shield of Richard I, who became King of England at age thirty-two and ruled from 1189 - 1199. He had spent most of his lifer in France, his mother’s country, where he received the nickname Coeur de Lion (“lionhearted”), signifying his military prowess. Gilded Tudor roses, carved below the lions, are also important symbols of royalty in Britain.