Where do the Three Lions on the England badge come from?
The three-lion motif, worn on England football shirts since the first international in 1872, derives from the royal coat of arms carried into battle by English Kings, initially by Richard I in the 12th century.
Henry I, ‘the Lion of England’, was the first to adopt a lion as his badge. The second lion came from Godfrey of Louvain, the father of Henry I’s wife, and the third from Eleanor of Aquitaine, the wife of Henry II.
In heraldic terms the lions are actually leopards. On the football shirts there was a little crown above the shield enclosing the ‘lions’ until 1949, removed then to make it different to the badge worn by England’s cricket team.