Anyone who can establish a direct male line of descent from an ancestor whose arms are registered at the College is automatically entitled to those arms. Official recognition of this necessitates recording of the descent in the registers of the College of Arms.
In addition, the Kings of Arms are specifically authorized by the Sovereign to grant legally protected armorial bearings (coats of arms), subject to the Earl Marshal's consent, to individuals - men and women - whose life or work has been a benefit to the community. A proven ancestry is not a prerequisite to a grant of arms. Arms are also granted to leading corporate bodies, such as companies of national or international standing, local authorities, professional associations and the like.
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