Tuesday, 21 April 2020

Lockdown - Tales from the Recycling Bin - Ich Dien

In these times of lockdown I have no "Tales from the Road" or much from the garage either. So I looked at some pieces I wrote but did not post on this blog.

In September 2018 I took a run to Angus. In Friockheim I found a gunshop bearing the heraldic badge of the Prince of Wales. It is fairly common, in this country, to see such royal warrants displayed by suppliers to the Royals.   

The badge had the motto "Ich Dien" which I assumed meant something in the Welsh language but it turns out to be German, "I serve". So why is a royal badge in German?

Note that the Prince of Wales is the title held by the hier to the British (previously English) throne. 

The story goes like this. The Battle of Crécy was fought in northern France in 1346. An English army defeated the French and their allies. Amongst the allies was King John the Blind of Bohemia. When it became apparent that the battle was lost the king's aides suggested that he retreated to safely. John is said to have replied that the King of Bohemia would not run away and asked to be led to the heart of the battle for a glorious (but pointless) death. 

UK 2 pence coin

After the battle Edward, Prince of Wales, known as the Black Prince is said to have found John's body and been impressed by the ostrich feathers on his helmet so took them as his badge and John's motto as his own. An important factor in the English victory at Crécy were Welsh archers and they are said to have liked the motto because "Ich Dien" sound the same as "Eich Dyn" meaning "Your Man" in Welsh.

Of course most of the above is in doubt. Historians think that the symbol and motto came from a royal marriage to the aristocracy of the Low Countries or Luxembourg - but that isn't such a good story. 

John's tomb in the crypt of the Notre-Dame Cathedral in Luxembourg City

John's lands. Luxembourg, Bohemia (mostly in the Czech Republic), a bit of Poland and Northern Italy.

The Regent Bar in Govanhill displays the badge. It's a "Rangers pub" - ie decorated in the style of, and frequented by fans of, the football club.   

Ok, history lesson over.


  1. When I lived along the road from the New Regent the window had a picture of a Dutch king on a white horse, suitably protected from matchday high jinks behind a mesh grill. Nice to see they've shifted allegiances ;)

    1. Despite living in Shawlands for 4 years a while back I had never visited the Regent until last year. I took an old work colleague on a Southside pub crawl. He is of the Celtic persuasion and a bit of a nutter but was perfectly behaved in this place and said it was one of the best pubs we visited that day.