CLAN CHIEF~ THREE FEATHERS
A clan chief is the head of his or her clan/family, and is the representer of the family's founder. A clan chief must be recognised as such by the Lord Lyon King of Arms, and must possess the undifferenced arms of their name.
Clan chiefs may wear their crest simpliciter, that is without being encircled by the motto and without any feathers. It is more common, however, for a clan chiefs to wear their own personal crest within a plain circlet inscribed with their motto or slogan. The chief's crest badge does not contain the strap and buckle that other clan members are permitted to wear. Clan chiefs are also entitled to wear three eagle feathers behind the circlet of their crest badge. On certain occasions, such as clan gatherings, it may be appropriate to use real eagle feathers. Clan chiefs that are members of the British Peerage or a feudal baron are entitled to wear the appropriate coronet or baronial chapeau above the circlet on their crest badge, though this is a matter of personal preference.
CLAN CHIEFTAIN ~ TWO FEATHERS
ARMIGEROUS CLAN MEMBERS ~ ONE FEATHER
In terms of Scottish Heraldry, an armiger is someone who has registered his or her own coat of arms, or has inherited a coat of arms according to the Laws of Arms in Scotland from an ancestor who had arms recorded in the Lyon Register
Armigers, like clan chiefs and chieftains, may wear their own personal crest within a plain circlet inscribed with their own motto or slogan. Armigers are permitted to wear one silver eagle feather behind the circlet (or on certain occasions a real eagle feather) If an Armiger is a member of the British Peerage or a feudal baron they are permitted to wear the appropriate coronet or baronial chapeau above the circlet on their crest badge. If an Armiger is a member of a Scottish clan he or she may wear the crest badge of their chief, however it must be encircled by a strap and buckle.
Members of Scottish clans are considered, by the Court of the Lord Lyon, to be relatives of their clan chief. They can be either immediate family or extended family. Clan members can also be people who only bear the "clan surname" or a sept name associated with the clan. The Court of the Lord Lyon has also stated that anyone who professes allegiance to both the clan and its chief can be considered a clan member. All clan members may wear the chief's crest encircled by a strap and buckle inscribed with their chief's motto or slogan. The strap and buckle symbolises the membership to the clan and allegiance to the clan chief.
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