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Motto and coat of arms


Our coat of arms celebrates the heritage of the two colleges which shaped the university we are today.

Our motto, Esse quam videri, which means 'to be rather than to seem', is taken from the coat of arms of Bedford College, founded in 1849 by Elizabeth Jesser Reid. Bedford College merged with Royal Holloway College in 1985 to form what is today known as Royal Holloway, University of London. The motto appears below the shield.

The shield has three crescents; one of these, and the ermine spots (the repeating pattern which reflects the black tip of the tail of a winter stoat) derive from a coat of arms used by Thomas Holloway, who founded Royal Holloway College in 1886. These devices were first recorded in use for a family of his name in the seventeenth century. The black and gold pattern comes from Bedford College’s coat of arms.

Placed between two diamond shapes at the top is a lamp of learning.


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