Tuesday, 19 June 2007

Appointment of New Chief Herald of Canada

Top right corner: Robert Watt, Canada's outgoing Chief Herald, wearing the Collar of Cs and holding his ceremonial baton. Robert Watt stands next to Dr. Claire Boudreau, the newly appointed Chief Herald of Canada. Photograph: Group photo of heralds attending the XXVIIth International Congress of Genealogical and Heraldic Sciences in St. Andrews, Scotland, 2006. (Photo Source: http://www.congress2006.com/Heralds.html)

Today I received the following e-mail from Saguenay Herald of the Canadian Heraldic Authority:

"I am delighted to announce that yesterday Dr. Claire Boudreau was appointed Chief Herald of Canada, with the effective date of June 26, 2007, to succeed Robert D. Watt, who is retiring after having served as the first Chief Herald of Canada for the past 19 years. I shall send more details later, but I was eager to share with you this excellent news."

A country forged with a pioneering spirit, it is perhaps no surprise that Canada should have led the Commonwealth in the creation of "Symbols of Sovereignty", to quote a certain Canadian Garter King of Arms. From the Maple Leaf Flag, to the Order of Canada, to the Canadian Heraldic Authority, Canada has served as an inspiration to nation-building states in the Commonwealth and beyond.

The creation in 1988 of the Canadian Heraldic Authority by Letters Patent, signed by The Queen, established Canada as the first Commonwealth realm outside the United Kingdom to have its own heraldic authority. Robert Watt (Fellow of the Royal Heraldry Society of Canada and Academician of L'Academie Internationale d'Heraldique), the outgoing Chief Herald, was instrumental in the creation of the CHA which, under his leadership, has established Canadian heraldry as arguably the world's most dynamic and exciting.

Having known Robb for a number of years I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his leadership and contributions, as herald, scholar and administrator; and I wish him a happy and well-deserved retirement.

And as Canada's first Chief Herald retires we see him replaced by the first female head of a Commonwealth heraldic authority: Dr. Claire Boudreau, formerly the (first) Deputy Chief Herald of Canada, Saint-Laurent Herald and Registrar of the CHA.

Claire Boudreau, Academician of L'Academie Internationale d'Heraldique, is an internationally recognised scholar in heraldic studies and has published numerous articles. She has been the principal designer and administrator of the CHA's pioneering online Public Register of Arms, Flags and Badges of Canada, which was unveiled in July 2005. Dr. Boudreau's most important publication to date is the monumental:

L'héritage Symbolique des Hérauts d'Armes: Dictionnaire Encyclopédique de l'Enseignement du Blason Ancien (XIVe-XVIe siècle) (Le Léopard d’or, Paris, 2006). ISBN 2-86377-204-X

Claire Boudreau possesses all of the skills and qualities required of an excellent Chief Herald. I congratulate her warmly on her appointment and wish her continued success in the years to come as she steers the CHA on its steady path.

I was pleased to see the office of Chief Herald acquire a ceremonial aspect over the last few years (primarily through the acquisition of a Collar of Cs and a ceremonial baton) and I hope we shall see this trend continue.

Arms of Office of the Chief Herald of Canada:

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